6.8/10
2,532
12 user 36 critic

Knuckle (2011)

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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.

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
James Quinn McDonagh
Michael Quinn McDonagh
Paddy Quinn McDonagh
Ian Palmer ...
Narrator
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Twelve years. Three clans. One war.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Šake  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,647 (USA) (9 December 2011)

Gross:

$2,647 (USA) (9 December 2011)
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The story behind the videos
20 August 2011 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Like many people, I watched numerous fights between Travellers on Youtube. I never really understood what motivated two men to stand in an old, mucky lane - and throw down until both were bloody and bruised. 'Knuckle' provides the back-story to why all of these fights went down.

It begins in 1997 when the director is asked to film a wedding for a then 18 year old, Michael Quinn McDonagh. The footage for the documentary spans over a decade up to 2009, documenting a cross-family feud between the Quinn McDonaghs and the Joyces. Both the Quinn McDonaghs, and Joyces are related. But this does not stop the ensuing battle that would rage on between the families up to present day.

Both families create video tapes, to taunt the opposing family and 'send for' a representative to fight. The fights are documented, some ending in violent fashion, while others ending in a mutual agreement for a draw.

The first documented fight shows James Quinn of the Quinn McDonaghs and Paddy Joyce, throw down in a quiet country lane. The fight is short, but brutal. Although it is violent, both fighters fight under fair rules - which ensures that no head-butting, biting or kicking is allowed - and when a man is defeated, the fight is over.

This would set the stage for the rest of the documentary. The film is fresh, and shows an often unseen side of the Irish Traveller community. Big money is often up for grabs, one fight alone has a purse of £120,000 - larger than the purses of many of today's professional boxers.

Anyone who has seen the Irish traveller fights on Youtube, and wants to get a better understanding of the story behind these fights - should watch this documentary. Credit to the director - as this is the culmination of 12 years work. I can't think of any other documentary that is shot over such a long period.


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