The informative and entertaining documentary feature "Fightville" pulls no punches. It is a straightforward and candid look at the world of Mixed Martial Arts that can be appreciated by those that love the sport AND by someone looking for an introduction to the topic. It is surprisingly accessible, immensely likable, and presents a very personal portrait of individuals who live for the fight. Set largely in rural Louisiana, "Fightville" showcases the sport from four different viewpoints: a successful promoter, a trainer, an emerging champion and a promising newcomer. Each has a different take on (and stake in) MMA fighting, but together help to define this relatively new sporting phenomenon. What began as illicit cage matches has turned into an extremely lucrative profession that now eclipses boxing in overall popularity.
The heart and soul of "Fightville" belongs to Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier. The filmmakers had access to Poirier before he rose to widespread prominence, so if you are a fan--this is certainly a film you'll want to check out. With single-minded drive and determination, Poirier is shown pursuing his passion and making a name for himself. In contrast to a brash and youthful Albert Stainbeck, Poirier displays uncommon conviction and poise. In many ways, "Fightville" stands as a testament to fulfilling your dreams but also makes the case that it can only be done with seriously hard work. MMA is a discipline and it's not for everyone (although everyone seems to think they can do it).
The documentary does a good job getting at the heart of the subjects profiled. A lot of footage is shot in training, but there is a good deal of actual match time as well (even though many of the fights don't last long). There isn't much superfluous material. At 85 minutes, this film feels concentrated and is fully successful at getting its principle themes fleshed out. It is a level-headed examination of MMA and an easy recommendation. Even without the Poirier viewpoint, it would be a worthy watch. But with Poirier, it is a must-see for anyone that follows MMA. KGHarris, 6/12.