Nov. 24, 2015
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Albuquerque’s own Johnny Tapia led a toubled life.


October 16, 2013, 12:00 am

Let’s be clear. It’s not the intention of this review to write ill of the dead. It’s not the intention of this review to piss on a local hero’s legacy. I’d be lying if I write that Tapia is smart, revelatory or intriguing. For example, what exactly is the point of Tapia, a bleak and short-but-long-feeling documentary about Johnny Tapia, the Albuquerque native and five-time boxing champion with a troubled soul and a troubled life? Are we supposed to feel sympathy for him? That’s difficult when we hear him—an adult—say that if his wife leaves him, he’ll kill himself. It’s difficult to admire him when he pisses away every opportunity to succeed with a drug relapse—and this is coming from someone who is sympathetic to addicts and alcoholics. The music is bleak and feels like it comes from a long, slow, dramatic thriller. Another issue is the lighting—which clearly wants to be artful—in the interviews is bleaker, and we can never really see Tapia’s face, which is a confusing choice. I can only assume it’s to suggest we can never know him; in reality, he’s just hard to see. There’s a tragic and worthwhile story here. It just didn’t end up on screen. (DR)

The Lensic, NR, 82 min.


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