Told through interviews with her family members, coaches and the woman herself, 'Katie' tells the story of Taylor's trailblazing journey from amateur boxing to her first professional bouts, as well as the behind-the-scenes drama that followed.

 

Katie Taylor is a unique figure in Irish sport. She's easily the most decorated and successful female boxer this country has ever produced, a highly respected and dedicated athlete, and yet it's so clear throughout 'Katie' that she is a deeply shy person who seems to almost actively shun the spotlight. She's quiet, reserved, rarely gives interviews and when she does, they're often pretty staid affairs that often end with her citing her religious beliefs and her team. In other words, she seems almost like the last person who would want a documentary crew following her about the place, much less one who would be a suitable candidate for such a thing.

Despite this, what comes across throughout the documentary is that Taylor is a woman who possesses a focus that manages to shut out doubt, fear, drama and allows her to laser in on whatever she sets her mind to. Seeing this in action, funnily enough, is what makes her such a compelling subject.

It's a difficult thing to try and grasp a person's personality when they wall so much of it, yet through gentle persuasion and a sympathetic eye, director Ross Whitaker slowly coaxes Taylor out of her shell, to where it becomes a searingly honest portrayal. Her family are open, ready to speak on her behalf, but it's the moments that she's alone and far away from anyone else that we see what Taylor is. The training and the dedication, the arduous hours and the toll it takes on any kind of a personal life - that speaks volumes more than her own words ever could.

Whitaker's direction and editing understands this, and smartly puts the interviews with her family in the context of her training. As Taylor and her coaches regularly point out, Taylor is often at a loss when she's out of camp and not focused towards something. The fight sequences are taken from archive footage and Whitaker blends them together to show both her dominance in the sport and as the fruits of her training, but you can see that there's a real reverence for both the sport and for the fighter - something that's so often overlooked in sports documentaries.