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Journeyman is Paddy Considine's 2nd film as director as well as star and just like his first, Tyrannosaur, the writing and acting just blew me away. Journeyman follows the current middleweight champion who close to retirement agrees to one last fight to defend his belt against a younger, arrogant fighter, knowing the pay day will secure his family's future. Despite winning the fight, the physical, mental and emotional trauma sustained during and after the fight causes great damage and completely changes who he is. After leaving his daughter in danger, he is left by his wife and so he begins a fight to rebuild his memory as well as his physical and mental strength to get back the ones he loves.
Paddy Considine and Jodie Whittaker are both superb. I thought Paddy especially did a great job of a man fighting to regain control over his life
Having gotten heavily into boxing in the last few years, I was excited to see Journeyman, written, directed by and starring Paddy Considine, an actor of considerable talent and range. It was more entertaining than Southpaw, and was a lot less rambling than Rocky, but I still didn't think of it as a great movie. It's a classic example of a film with not enough innovation to be remarkable but enough merits to be watchable. Considine throws himself into the part and convinces as a man at war with his own mind and losing at every turn, as does Jodie Whittaker as the woman deeply in love with a man who cannot understand himself, let alone her or their child. But the film too often feels like it's going through the motions rather than trying to say or do anything new. I enjoyed watching it for the performances and its tackling of a difficult subject, but I couldn't help thinking that it should have been a lot more powerful, moving and profound than it was.
A very competent start to his directorial career for Consadine and he puts in a reliably impressive performance, as does Jodie Whittaker and the main supporting cast. The problem for me is that, despite having been provided with technical advice from the boxing industry and including real boxing figures including the inimitable Steve Bunce, the fundamental storyline is nearly as flawed as Rocky's. Would a man who has just retained a world title be left to return home alone rather than accompanied by celebrating back-room staff? More importantly, boxing is far too concerned about its public image - quite irrespective of real loyalties - to leave a (world champion, remember) boxer who has collapsed and been in a coma for sufficient time to undergo brain surgery and, presumably, significant rehab so unsupported as in this film. Come to that, the NHS, or perhaps boxing's medical support structures, don't come out of it very well to leave a man clearly in need of extensive physiotherapy, let alone psychotherapy to get on with it. I also have a niggling doubt about the happy-ish ending. Do we really believe that the dreadful - and very well handled - violent streak Matty displays has been wholly resolved by some kind of underwater epiphany? Worth seeing, therefore, but requires a little too much suspension of disbelief.
Heart-wrenching, smart, and sincere, Journeyman avoids almost all of the boxing-genre clichés to tell a story about life outside of the ring. It's not as bleak as Paddy Considine's directorial debut, Tyrannosaur (which to this day is one of my favorite films of all time), but it can be equally difficult to watch in its moments of genuine tension and heartbreak, and the performances from Paddy Considine and Jodie Whittaker are among the best I've seen in a long, long time. Laurie Rose's cinematography is also great, portraying Matty's isolation beautifully. The "phone call scene" has to be one of the best moments I've ever witnessed in cinema. I hope this film gets the awards that it so richly deserves. Journeyman wears its heart on its sleeve with sincere writing, performances, and direction that open a window into a world that we rarely see in film.
Brilliant film. Fabulous understanding of the boxing world and brain trauma. No one has ever tackled this subject before. If you let it, it will teach you so much about a world that very few know about. Don't take any notice of the critics. See it for yourself and make your own mind up.
Boxing film that shows the sport from a different angle.
The film tells the story of aging Sheffield middleweight boxer Matty Burton (Paddy Considine) who is about to embark on one last bout.
He 'wins' the fight however later at home he collapses and is presumably hospitalised with serious head injury that requires surgery.
Some time later Burton returns home to his wife Emma (Jodie Whitaker) and their infant daughter Mia.
Burton has to learn basic skills again and struggles with the most mundane tasks such as making a cup of tea.
Frustration begins to take hold leading to violent outbursts that one day leads to near disaster involving Mia.
Realising her daughter is inadvertently at risk Emma leaves home with Mia. Matty only has his old gym/corner crew (Paul Popplewell and Tony Pitts) to aid his slow recovery and for the second half of the film the emotional angle if Matty's life is followed including the lows of a suicide attempt and reconciliation with the fighter from his last fight (Anthony Welsh).
The film is a low budget British (Yorkshire) art house film that features hardly any boxing at all aside from the pre-fight press conference of Burton's last fight.
It had some personal interest what with the local filming locations.
The emotional aspects of the tragedy of brain injury that occasionally happens in the sport is the story here.
Paddy Considine as well as playing the main role of Burton is the director and writer of the film.
Considine was behind the 2011 UK hit Tyrannosaur.
Tony Pitts occasionally appears in Sheffield based films although most UK viewers of the film may remember him as Archie on the UK television soap opera Emmerdale Farm (as it was then).
A film that won't be seen by many but may appear on late night TV broadcasts in future. However a film worthy of viewing if at all possible.
First off if you're thinking about this as a boxing movie then that's not strictly true. Whilst I'm a boxing fan and loved seeing some well known faces from the sport in it there is so much more to it than that.
The performances by Considine and Whitaker are fantastic and the only shame about this is that it hasn't had better publicity and a wider release.
You won't find better performances or a more emotionally honest story all year.
God bless everyone involved.
One of the best British Films I've seen in years. Different than Tyrannosaur but almost as good with powerhouse performances from Paddy Considine and Jodie Whitaker. Unfortunately the film was ignored by all the awards even when the performances were among the best from 2017.