Knuckle (2011)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A gritty documentary that captures the brutality and banality of bare-knuckle fights among Irish Travellers.

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An epic 12-year journey into in the world of an Irish Traveller community, Knuckle takes us inside their brutal, secretive and exhilarating bare-knuckle fighting lives. Chronicling a history of violent feuding between rival families, the story focuses on two brothers as they fight for their reputations and the honour of their family name. Brutal, yet captivating and ultimately moving, this unforgettable documentary offers an exclusive insight into the world of Irish Travellers and the lengths they will go to protect their family name. -- (C) Official Site
Rating:
R (for violent content and language)
Genre:
Art House & International , Documentary , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Ian Palmer
as Ian Palmer, Narrator

Critic Reviews for Knuckle

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (13)

A deeply unsettling experience.

Full Review… | December 13, 2011
indieWIRE
Top Critic

Palmer's film is brutally compelling to look at, as the lads get down to face-rearranging, but it also carries a lot of tragic historical freight.

Full Review… | December 8, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

While it's frustrating that Mr. Palmer doesn't dig deep into the complexities of the fights, one of the movie's strengths is the honesty with which he confesses his doubts about them.

December 8, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Though you will wish for more polish and insight, its unruly action is hard to resist.

Full Review… | December 8, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Knuckle largely skirts exploitation, simply by virtue of showing this conflict perpetuate itself over so many years. Clans like the Quinn McDonaghs and the Joyces seem destined to fight for generations after they've forgotten their rationale.

Full Review… | December 8, 2011
NPR
Top Critic

While the film becomes slightly redundant, the anger and strife its characters cannot overcome is awful, poetic and, frankly, astonishing.

Full Review… | December 8, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Knuckle

½

It was somewhat interesting. However, nobody that fights in the movie is actually that skilled. Also, I don't see the problem with allowing them to fight yeah none of them could actually hurt one another.

Jeremy Carson
Jeremy Carson

Shot over 12 years, Ian Palmer's extraordinary documentary tracks the long-running feud between the Joyces and the Quinn McDonaghs. This is a great documentary - though hard to understand what they are saying most of the time.

Jim Larrison
Jim Larrison
½

" Twelve years. Three clans. One war." An epic 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting. This film follows a history of violent feuding between rival clans.

REVIEW
A real life Irish Fight Club? This brutally honest, raw and disturbing documentary uncovers a startling story of a family feud that follows a rather bizarre course. For several decades, the traveling Quinn McDonagh family has been fighting with their cousins the Joyces, in an ongoing feud that makes the Hatfield McCoy feud seem like a minor family spat. Although the origins seem hazy now, each generation seemingly is determined to keep the feud going. Every couple of years male members of these rival clans meet in some back road or remote farm yard to try and resolve their differences through bouts of bare knuckle fights. Essentially it's brothers fighting cousins, and some of these fights last for barely a few brutal minutes. Not only is family honour and masculine pride at stake, but there is also a substantial monetary prize for the winner. There are also rules to be observed, which are enforced by a couple of neutral referees. Documentary filmmaker Ian Palmer stumbled upon this fascinating story when he was invited to film a wedding by James Quinn McDonagh, the formidable leader of his clan. Even though he is now past his prime, James has never lost a bout.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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