The Boxer (1997)

The Boxer (1997)

Star-crossed lovers stand their ground in this disappointing Northern Irish drama

6.8

Movie

Ireland
English
Drama, Romance
1997
JIM SHERIDAN
Brian Cox, Brian Milligan, Britta Smith
114 min

TLDR

To be honest, it’s actually disappointing to see a whole year of boxing training only given a few scenes.

What it's about

After being imprisoned for 14 years due to getting involved with the IRA, former teen boxer Danny Flynn returns home to reopen his neighborhood gym and reconnect with his former love Maggie.

The take

With a great cast, a relevant story, and a stirring romance, The Boxer is all set to be a great film, but the resulting feature feels like a letdown. Irish director Jim Sheridan has teamed up with English actor Daniel Day Lewis for a feature depicting the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and for the most part, it’s decently made, but the film struggles to balance the romance and the politics of its story, with Day Lewis’ boxing lagging behind. There are plenty of interesting threads here– the right to self-determination, on both the individual and national level, the loss of youth, and the way war makes cities turn on themselves– which are all emotionally carried by the performances, but the structure fails to organize these ideas into a daring and cohesive statement. The Boxer isn’t a terrible watch, but it just feels like it could have delved more deeply into the conflict, or better yet, could have been at least two separate movies.

What stands out

Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson are two of the best actors of their generation, it’s genuinely sad that they don’t have as many scenes as they could together.

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