Medieval Combat is a sport most people will never have heard of. The image of a bunch of adults in impressive armour, fighting each other with pretty daunting weapons, sounds like you might be on set for the next historical or war biopic, however, Medieval Combat is very much real and BLUDGEON is the film to watch for an inside look.
BLUDGEON details the journey of Nick, who is looking to join a first-class team and represent his country, New Zealand, in the world championships. The film introduces multiple characters to this quest, from ‘The Machine’ to Justin, a master armourer. It is certainly a peculiar cast but directors Andy Deere and Ryan Heron present them in a way that allows the audience to see how incredibly loveable they are in their oddness. They are funny, emotionally intelligent and committed to what they love.
Nick is the standout character from this documentary and some of the most poignant parts of the film live in his moments of reflection. His reactions to rejection, achievement, and defeat are astonishingly enlightening and it is a credit to the filmmakers for not rushing over these moments. The film’s slower pace allows for better connections to the characters and exemplifies the battle scenes. They are not small scale and the violence is highlighted through juxtapositions of calm reflection and battle itself. Another flavourful element of the film is the soundtrack: slightly rock & roll, slightly medieval but all-round superb. The soundtrack keeps the film moving forward and ensures it never feels delayed or lagging.
BLUDGEON is a documentary that celebrates self-confidence, companionship and all things weird and wonderful. At moments it extremely funny and at others is deeply reflective or emotional. Nick gives us a few lessons on how we should be in life, particularly about believing in yourself. A lot of people doubted him at first, the audience of this film included, but as he would say, that’s “just total fucking bullshit”.
If the film leaves the impression Sammy expected, here is a link to a Scottish Medieval Combat team to get your fix after the credits role.