Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the ring, but there's also some real emotional depth in the script by actor Johnny Harris and the direction by Thomas Napper (who was second unit director on Beauty and the Beast). So even if the film's plot feels somewhat contrived, the movie has strong resonance in its characters and situations. And it's shot and acted in a remarkably realistic way.
Harris stars as a has-been boxer named Jimmy, who has been evicted from his flat because his building is due to be demolished. With nowhere to go, he turns to his old gym, assuring his former trainer Bill (Ray Winstone) that he has stopped drinking and participating in unlicensed fights. But as Bill's pal Eddie (Michael Smiley) begins to coach him back into shape, Jimmy secretly turns to local gangster Joe (Ian McShane) for help to make some extra cash in an underground boxing match against a notoriously ferocious opponent (Luke J.I. Smith). Then it turns out that Bill and Eddie are hiding something from Jimmy as well. And that they know all about his upcoming fight.
Napper directs the film almost like a documentary, never indulging in melodramatic flourishes as these tough men carefully guard their emotions. He also avoids all rah-rah sports movie cliches. There are no soaring training montages, and the fight scenes are shot without any slow-motion dramatics or rousing music. They feel fiercely true to life, and very painful too. Harris is terrific in the raw central role, a likeable guy whose fiery temper continually gets him in trouble. He may cause his own problems, but he genuinely wants to be a better man. His scenes with Winstone and McShane are terrific, but it's his more prickly connection with Smiley's Eddie that gives the film its soul. Smiley provides Eddie with a wonderful inner life that connects with the audience in surprising ways.
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Ten years after an alien probe crashed into Mexico, the monster plague has spread out of South America to the rest of the world. With 'Infected Zones' sprouting up all over the planet, and the Middle East has gone through an insurgency, in addition to being almost entirely taken over by the hordes of monsters. The army head into the area to deal with the insurgency, but in the process they are forced to deal with the overwhelming monster threat. With the fight between men and monsters, the army are forced to learn about the true value of life and love.
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After the tiny drama Shifty, British filmmaker Creevy turns to both Hong Kong and Hollywood for inspiration, creating an unusually glossy, explosive London cop thriller. But for all the sleek filmmaking and energetic action, the film struggles to make us care about characters who are dark and troubled. Their complexity is interesting, but not hugely engaging.
Adding to the visual sheen, the action is set among the gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in East London, where detective Max (McAvoy) is still struggling to accept his inability to stop a heist three years earlier. The mastermind Jacob (Strong) managed to escape then, but he's back in town now, so Max is chomping at the bit to grab him. Max's lieutenant (Morrissey) tells him to back off, but he secretly works with his partner Sarah (Riseborough) to join the hunt. Meanwhile, Jacob teams up with an old pal (Mullan) to find out why one of the gang members (Harris) is on a murderous rampage. Which puts Jacob on a collision course with Max.
With so much full-on gunplay in a city where cops aren't actually armed, the film feels like it's set in some sort of parallel reality London. And Creevy augments this fantasy tone by indulging in shootouts that are sudden and brutal - like John Woo crossed with Michael Mann. The plot is full of clever twists, as motivations are revealed and a political conspiracy becomes apparent. It's all a bit convoluted and implausible, and the details are annoyingly murky, but within this premise the cast are able to find some emotional resonance.
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Max Lewinsky is a determined police detective who remains bitter about never managing to find and arrest the elusive criminal that is Jacob Sternwood. However, he is in with another chance of victory when Sternwood leaves his hideout in Iceland to return to the streets of London where his son Ruan is lying unconscious in a hospital bed after suffering a near-fatal bullet wound to the stomach during a heist that went wrong. Knowing that Sternwood will attempt to sneak in to the hospital to see his son and also attempt to smuggle him out under the police's nose, Lewinsky pulls out all the stops in the biggest effort of his career to catch this former criminal and reinstate his flawless reputation. However, as they come face to face, the both of them find themselves in the middle of a much bigger scheme and the pair must work together to uncover the shady truth.
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The Evil Queen, Ravenna, is very beautiful but very deadly. Early in her reign, she despaired over 'battles fought and lives lost' but now, she draws strength from the cries of war. Each day, she looks in her magic mirror and asks 'who is the fairest of them all?' The answer is always her.
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In rural England during the First World War, a horse named Joey befriends a young boy called Albert. One day Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent to the trenches in France, seeing firsthand the horrors of the Great War, yet touching the hearts of everyone he meets, including a French farmer, a German soldier and the British army. Although too young to enlist, 16 year old Albert joins the army and heads to France to find his friend.
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After years of marriage, Alfie and Helena are getting divorced, this is mainly due to Alfie's midlife crisis and lust for a much younger woman called Charmaine. Whilst Helena seeks guidance from a fortune teller her daughter is also facing troubles of her own. Sally works in an art gallery work whilst her husband stays at home hoping to write a novel that repeats the success of his first.
Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...
Ten years after an alien probe crashed into Mexico, the monster plague has spread out...
After the tiny drama Shifty, British filmmaker Creevy turns to both Hong Kong and Hollywood...
Max Lewinsky is a determined police detective who remains bitter about never managing to find...
The Evil Queen, Ravenna, is very beautiful but very deadly. Early in her reign, she...
In rural England during the First World War, a horse named Joey befriends a young...
After years of marriage, Alfie and Helena are getting divorced, this is mainly due to...