One More is a story of courage and resilience of the legendary kick boxer who ventures back into the ring for his final fight.
Ernesto Hoost, a Dutch-Surinamese kickboxing champion comes out of retirement in a final attempt to reclaim his victorious title. Dealing with the ramifications of a brutal divorce, Hoost had no choice but to accept the opportunity to regain financial stability in a fight against his twenty-six year rival. In what has been hailed the ‘fight of legends’ we see two equally talented opponents battle it out in one last effort to claim the crown.
One More is a documentary that envelops its audience with its intimate conversations between Hoost and his former coach, Ton Vriend. A relationship that has endured it’s own struggles but remained strong in the face of something greater than both men. Director, Camille Herren, is an evocative storyteller as he captures the true vulnerability of a champion. We follow Hoost aka ‘Mr Perfect’ through a series of montages and interviews as he prepares for the fight of his life. With a beautiful score by Ben Lukas Boysen our love for this legend grows stronger, until we’re on the edge of our seat in the final minutes of the fight.
Mixing typical documentary style with soft camera angles Herren gives us an insight into the mind of this former champion. We watch as he tells his story, from childhood to fame, a tale of the underdog that makes his way to the top at last. It’s a story that has been told time and time again, but never seems to fail in its ability to connect with its audience. The determination of Hoost and Vriend is the ultimate human battle, with ourselves and our journeys to success. The use of re-enactments of Hoost’s childhood back in Holland, and the heart felt voice over evokes a strong emotional response. Anyone who has felt like an outsider due to their heritage and skin color relates to this story, of overcoming ones feelings of inadequacy.
The cinematography by Marc De Meijer puts us in the midst of the action, with close ups of the body and face of Hoost, as we see sweat dripping from his brow. The brutality of his training regime and the nostalgia of his memories transcend through the screen through the use of the camera. The combination of archival VHS footage with the crispness of digital puts us in a time warp. One moment we’re there watching the fight decades ago and the next we’re in the present, all the while the anticipation is building. A technique that gives the film a tonal adjustment, constantly keeping us engaged. Instead of letting it plateau with stagnant use of camera, we’re given a taste of another life and another time. A brief look at what the champion was like in his prime, before age and responsibility snuck in. Hoost fails to elaborate on his family, and hence the divorce, leaving us blinded to the emotional strain it took for him to resort to this fight in the first place. It can be seen as a deliberate choice on Herren’s part, so as not to deter us from the story of the fighter and the final fight.
Towards the end of the film dialogue becomes rare and jarring as the focus becomes on the anxiety and suspense of the fight. It’s now about physicality and sensations, the story is told, and all that is left is the outcome.
An undulating film of failures and triumphs, One More drags you into a world where aggression is victory. ‘Mr Perfect’ lets down that façade of power and shows us the vulnerable man beneath.