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The Independent Critic

Victor Ptak, Edmund Dehn, Heather Nimmo, Julian Shaw, Nigel Williams
Andrew Simcox
82 Mins.

 "Kid Gloves" a Solid Indie Effort  

Freddy (Victor Ptak) is basically an underachiever. Afraid of life and pretty much everything else, Freddy has turned a childhood disappointment into a lifetime of disappointment. His father (Keith How) had big plans for him as a young boxer, but Freddy had one serious problem - he was afraid to box. That fear seems to have never subsided, and now Freddy finds himself working for a collection agency under a younger boss (Julian Shaw) who definitely isn't afraid. In fact, the word "bully" comes to mind.

I suppose it goes with the territory, eh?

When he ends up getting demoted to the call center, Freddy befriends Jess (Heather Nimmo), a much younger woman yet more hardened and jaded by life. When the door unexpectedly gets opened for Freddy to get back in the ring some 40+ years after his last humiliation, we find ourselves cheering for this likable loser and pretty much anyone else who has ever been afraid and found the courage to rise again. In this case, Freddy's aided in the cause by Gus (Edmund Dehn), a former Cuban boxing champ himself looking for a bit of redemption along the way.

Creatively constructed and artistically inspired, writer/director Adam Simcox's Kid Gloves will unquestionably remind you of any number of inspirational flicks where the central character rises up against the odds and against themselves. In this case, time and again I found myself reflecting upon my love for the underrated Peter Mullan film On a Clear Day, though this could be as much because Ptak himself kept reminding me of Mullan's marvelous performance in that film.

Ptak does give a wonderful performance here by nailing the tone just right and making Freddy's effort to overcome his past failures that much more satisfying. The scenes between Ptak and Edmund Dehn are genuinely involving with the two actors exhibiting a comfortable and believable chemistry that draws you deeper into everything that's going on. Heather Nimmo also shines as Jess, while Julian Shaw does an excellent job of portraying the least likable character without making us hate him so much that we can't watch the story unfold.

Mig Dfoe's original music is top notch and proves to be a perfect companion to the film's various moods, while Simcox's own lensing is creative and emotionally resonant without being too dominant. While Kid Gloves is obviously a low-budget affair, Simcox does a tremendous job of allowing that budget to work for him rather than trying to work against it. Filmed in London and locations in Spain, Kid Gloves has that sort of Euro-indie feel to it which, if I'm being blunt, means it's a tad smarter than most American indie fare and more focused on character development that razzle dazzle.

Kid Gloves was only recently completed and will soon begin its festival run with an August premiere in London and, one can hope, even more success on the indie and underground film fest circuit. With its compelling characters and winning story, Kid Gloves should have no problem finding a home on the fest circuit and, perhaps, with the an indie distribution deal down the road. If you get a chance, definitely check this one out.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic