The Boxer (1997)
Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 70
Fresh: 56 | Rotten: 14
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 4
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,854
Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father) directed this drama about a Belfast boxer, filmed with Dublin locations substituting for Belfast. Released after his 14-year prison sentence for IRA activities, 32-year-old Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) returns to his old neighborhood and sees former-flame Maggie (Emily Watson), who has an unhappy marriage and now raises her son alone while her husband is in prison. To get back in the boxing ring, Danny gets the community-center gym back in operation and
Dec 31, 1997 Wide
Jul 7, 1998
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Day-Lewis has the ability to make the will to nonviolence look positively volcanic. And Watson, with her 200-watt incandescence, makes longing look radiant.
If The Boxer doesn't quite score a knockout, that's because of such flaws as the too-sketchy development of the character of Maggie's son, who turns out to be pivotal. But the movie carries the day by aiming its strongest punches straight at the heart.
With Watson and Day-Lewis you can almost feel the heat, and their situation never feels contrived or artificial.
The critic dutifully tabulated each blunt plot point, each refried cliche.. And yet, when Danny's nemesis did something monstrously rotten, the critic was so enraged by the dastardly act that he had to stop himself from spitting his candy.
Though we've seen this unquiet terrain before, this new film about boxing, star-crossed lovers and the Irish Republican Army temporarily gives us fresh eyes.
What makes The Boxer as potent as it is are the performances, especially Daniel Day-Lewis' contained powerhouse. His Danny is a closed-off man, shadowboxing with his private demons, who comes painfully, but gloriously, back to life.
An intelligent, provocative piece of cinema, with something quite bold to say in the Irish context.
A knock-out performance by Daniel Day-Lewis is the highlight of this admirable if rather conventional drama.
We never figure out, though, what drives Day-Lewis' Danny. We just take it on faith that he's stubborn and sick of violence. The filmmakers don't help much, offering just a twist on the star-crossed lovers story, mixed with standard boxing melodrama.
The art-house dream-team pairing of Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson amounts to more of a soft jab than a knockout punch.
In this dull film, poignant characters caught up in histrionics flail with one glove, while much emotional shadowboxing is done with the other.
It still packs a knockout punch thanks to Day-Lewis' typically gutsy performance.
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