A visually impressive docu-fiction hybrid from Slovak multihypenate Ivan Ostrochovsky, Koza offers a raw look at a retired Romany boxer who goes back into the ring in hopes of keeping his family together. The helmer employs non-pro actors in authentic settings on the fringes of professional boxing (…). (…) [I]n this made-up tale inspired by real-life situations, Ostrochovsky and talented cinematographer Martin Kollar use a coolly artful style (long shots, static camera) that provides the audience with a bit of psychological distance and emotional freedom.
[Ostrochovsky] grew up in the same southern Slovak town (Zilina) that Koza did and made a short documentary about him, during which they became friends; the feature was set in motion when Koza contacted Ostrochovsky for financial help some years ago. By hiring the man to appear in the film and paying him throughout the four years of pre-production and shooting, the helmer was not only able to supplement his leading man’s low disability pension but also put him in touch with a reality that helped move his life in a different direction.
Alissa Simon, Variety