Nineteen-year-old Danny Flynn is imprisoned for his involvement with the I.R.A. in Belfast. He leaves behind his family and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Maggie Hamill. Fourteen years later, Danny is released from prison and returns to his old working class neighborhood to resume his life as a boxer, fighting and opening a boxing club training aspiring boxers. Maggie has since married Danny's best friend, who is also imprisoned for his I.R.A. activities. Although he has not denounced the I.R.A. or denigrated his I.R.A. colleagues, Danny has decided to live a life free of political violence. His boxing club is nonsectarian, open to both Catholics and Protestants. This move irks some of his old I.R.A. colleagues since they feel working with the Protestants will not resolve their David versus Goliath struggle. Danny's old I.R.A. colleagues, especially their unofficial leader Harry, resort to traditional tactics of violence to stop Danny. Maggie's father, Joe, also an I.R.A. activist, ... Written by
Although set in Belfast, the film was almost exclusively shot in the run-down docklands and Sheriff Street area of Dublin's North Inner City. The flat complex used in the film was earmarked for demolition but this was postponed until filming was completed. Since then the entire area has been redeveloped and now contains several multinational company headquarters, a college, hotels, up-market restaurants, a rail station and million dollar apartments. See more »
The cut above Danny's left eye disappears in some scenes. See more »
[Liam burned down Danny's gym]
What the hell did you think you were doing?
I saw you. I saw you with him.
[Glares at his mother]
You're going to run away with him, aren't you?
[Sits down next to him]
No. I'm gonna stay right here with you.
I don't want to see him ever again.
[Gets up and leaves]
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Jim Sheridan's films are always powerful. Shakespearian in their intensity of character conflict, they bristle with grit, are masterfully acted, and propel themselves the way John Ford's best films do. I consider him, even with his limited output, one of the great A list directors. No, his camera work isn't stunning crane and rail ballet, it's old school - but GREAT old school - Zinneman, Ford. And if you're a filmgoer who likes to care deeply about characters, Sheridan makes your kind of film.
Acting doesn't get better or more truthful than Daniel Day Lewis and Emily Watson working together. They're absolutely believable - inspiring actually
as a couple struggling through forbidden love after 14 years apart. The
dialogue they work with is A plus and written by Sheridan; thus it's probably tuned collaboratively during rehearsal. Very organic. Great (!) work by Gerard McSorley, Brian Cox (L.I.E.) and David Stott as Ike.
Yep, Northern Ireland as Sheridan portrays it can be dreary, as commented here. But it's also full of humanity, drunkeness, hope, cruelty, love, loyalty, oppression, and a desperate longing for change - all the stuff of true drama. The action commences at the moment Ireland is on the cusp of real but fragile peace. Boxing and the IRA? A one two punch.
I love this film and I'd watch it again with any friend who wanted to see an excellently written and played picture. If you want your blood to boil from some fine performers playing strongly written characters, check this out. Not quite "Elizabeth", but powerful. Good enough dramatically (albeit not quite visually) to sit on the same shelf with Raging Bull.
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