The Last Gladiators

Aptly named, ‘The Last Gladiators’ follows Chris ‘Knuckles’ Nilan as he discusses his rise to stardom and subsequent fall as an for the ’s Montreal Canadiens.

Director Alex Gibney’s piece could be easily slotted into ESPN’s 30/30 series, using game footage and interviews from a wide range of NHL’s Enforcing Stars he creates a atmosphere both full of pride and yet undercut with dark tones.

‘The Last Gladiators’ claims to be a look at Enforcers of the NHL, but ends up being a non-the less intriguing biopic primarily about Chris Nilan. A shame to a certain extent, as diehard fans will be disappointed with the lack of coverage of certain ‘goons’ – such as Derek Boogard or the recently deceased Rick Rypien.

The documentary looks at the NHL during the eighties with a different scope, but most poignantly observes Nilan’s downfall; which gives perspective into the psyche of many professional athletes.

A mandatory viewing for ice hockey fans, and a definite intrigue for anybody with even a mild interest in sport.