Life is most definitely not fair. I can only imagine the heartbreak and annoyance Seb Zewdie must have endured back in the eighties - when he was denied his place in the Olympics due to political turmoil. It's a lesson we all learn and even teach our children. The world is not fair. But that doesn't make things any easier, not at all. With that said, the real story this film presents happens almost forty years after Zewdie's Olympic dreams were crushed. Sure, we get a lot of history, but for me, the meat and potatoes of "Suffer for Good" was the countdown to Seb's fight. His training of himself and those he coaches, his conversations with his family, and ultimately the fight itself.
Sure, the history presented in this film was appreciated and needed for context, allowing the audience to get to know and even root for Seb - but it was all leading up to those final few minutes... the event that started eighty days prior. And it wasn't about Seb winning or losing - it was all about the journey. It was about the suffering. We've all heard the old saying, no pain - no gain, right? I believe I prefer Seb's take on that. Suffer for Good. As for the film being entertaining? It is. From hearing about what Doctor Rick did for Seb all those years ago, to their eventual reunion all these years after, from Seb coaching some very formidable fighters; to his training and family life - this film has a little bit of everything. And it was well worth the seventy minutes. The short and sweet of this review? Highly recommended.
Usually, I reserve this second segment for my technical thoughts on a film - but honestly? "Suffer for Good" doesn't offer a whole lot to complain about. From a production standpoint, Danny Simmons' film is a slick and polished project. From the standard documentary-style interview segments - to the powerfully presented training sequences, this film has a lot going for it. I was especially thankful for the spot-on pacing, making what could have been a long and drawn-out affair feel lightning-quick and energetic. It all came together so damn well. Maybe it was the personal touches of family life. Perhaps it was the inclusion of the mini-stories featuring other fighters, or the, never give up tones of the movie. No matter how you slice it, "Suffer for Good" not only works, but works well. Period.
At the end of the day, Danny Simmons has put forth a great film that dances the line between a documentary and a biography excellently. It's a little heartbreaking at times, but also full of hope and perseverance. Seb Zewdie's story is definitely one worthy of many eyes... and hearts. A solid four stars, no matter how you look at it. Well done.