Choice Documentary

Fencer Peter Westbrook shows he may be mightier than the sword

He's one of Oprah's Angels and an Olympic champ, a published author (of his own autobiography, Harnessing Anger) and, soon enough, the subject of a Walt Disney-produced feature based on his life's story (cf. The Rookie, Remember the Titans). Till then, here's Chris Dalrymple's engaging (if, at a mere 75 minutes, a tad overlong) filmed-on-video documentary about fencing champ Peter Westbrook, who wields a mighty sabre and uses his weapon to empower and educate disenfranchised and doomed-for-dead-end kids who'd otherwise have little hope or chance of surviving neighborhoods overrun by gang violence and drug use. Westbrook, with or without sabre, is a lithe, ferocious, compelling man who's constantly in motion, careering and coaxing without pause for a moment's breath; he doesn't talk so much as deliver a monologue meant to motivate a group of kids who prove, by film's end, as wise and wily as their mentor (about half make the 2000 U.S. Olympic team bound for Sydney). As it turns out, there are very few things mightier than the sword; Peter Westbrook might be one of them.

 
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