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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
Barry McGuigan who was coaching (Daniel Day Lewis' for two years to prepare him for the boxing scenes in the film, and who was a regular commentator at fights all over the country was familiar with the form of most boxers, said the actor was so good and so serious about his training that he could easily have contested real boxing matches against the leading fighters in his weight class at the time. See more »
The cut above Danny's left eye disappears in some scenes. See more »
Sheridan's 'The Boxer' is far more complex than his other films like 'In The Name of The Father', 'My Left Foot' and 'In America'. The story revolves around a neighborhood of ordinary (and not-so-ordinary people) living in a troubled Northern Ireland. Sheridan successfully depicts the problem from both sides. One witnesses how difficult it is to lead a normal life in peace as this will be looked down upon and even used against you. The use of washed out colour gives a gloomy and depressing feel, and ironically also shows the weather. But, contradicting that Sheridan also skillfully portrays the love, devotion and hope of the people.
Fine performances are almost always expected from Sheridan's films and here too the actors do an outstanding job. Daniel Day-Lewis is superb. His restraint reflects Danny's calm dignity and he is very convincing as the man who recognizes a second opportunity in life and tries to make the better of it. Emily Watson is sublime. Her quiet portrayal of Maggie's strength, pride, courage and vulnerability is spot on. Brian Cox is stupendous. Gerard McSorley proves again how wickedly good he can be when it comes to playing menacing characters. Ken Stott is excellent.
I feel the reason why 'The Boxer' is so underrated and not as highly regarded as Sheridan's other films is because it's far more complicated than what they're used to seeing. However, in my opinion, this is just as effective as Scorsese's 'Raging Bull' and better than the likes of 'Rocky.
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