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Shadowboxer (2005)

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When an assassin is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decides to carry out one final killing, assisted by her lover and stepson, Mikey.


Lee Daniels


Will Rokos
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Mikey
Helen Mirren ... Rose
Vanessa Ferlito ... Vicki
Macy Gray ... Neisha
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Dr. Don
Mo'Nique ... Precious
Stephen Dorff ... Clayton Mayfield
Matt Higgins ... Eddie
Tom Pasch Tom Pasch ... Andrew
Ryan Eric Speise Ryan Eric Speise ... Anthony - Age 3
Cullen Flynn Clancy Cullen Flynn Clancy ... Anthony - age 7 (as Cullen Clancy)
Marilyn Yoblick ... Real Estate Agent
Darnell Williams Darnell Williams ... Mikey's Father
Marvina Vinique Marvina Vinique ... Mikey's Mother (as Marvina Vinque)
John Panzarella John Panzarella ... Man in Hotel (as Johnny Panzarella)


Mikey and Rose are professional assassins. They are also lovers, and once upon a time Rose also knew Mikey's father. During an elaborate hit job for a malicious gangster, Rose fails to kill the main target, the gangster's pregnant girlfriend. Instead, she delivers her baby and convinces Mikey to help her protect them both. As Rose weakens from cancer, Mikey becomes breadwinner for this unusual family. But tranquility will not last. Written by Peter Brandt Nielsen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Feeling Protected Is Very Seductive

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

14 July 2006 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Contract See more »

Filming Locations:

Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$103,238, 23 July 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$370,627, 20 August 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


LL Cool J and Yasiin Bey were considered for the role of Mickey. See more »


Just after Macy Gray's character talks to Dorff's character outside his mansion, she gets in the car and shuts the door. In the next shot, she shuts the car door again, despite it already being closed. See more »


Dr. Don: Always an adventure with Rose.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In Memory of My Uncle Reggie (1942-2005) See more »


Featured in Indie Sex: Censored (2007) See more »


Come Nightfall
Written and Performed by Ronit Kirchman
Courtesy of Wild River Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Philadelphia Pulp
24 November 2009 | by tjacksonSee all my reviews

Audacious may be the best word to describe this. It is filled with much of the same style and honesty that Lee Daniels brought to his next film 'Precious', making it a good primer for that noteworthy film. Though it can be highly sexual, violent, stylized, and filled with some baroque plot twists, it has a go-for-broke ingenuousness that makes it all work. It reminds me of Sweet Sweetback's Badaaass Song in the way it plays to what the director knows is a pulpy, inner city aesthetic, but that it is of his world, one filled with violence and unsavory characters. No one here is entirely sympathetic. It defies the stereotypes of more traditional formula driven films. There's no comforting message. Combine all this with his love for films like Sweet Charity and you have an odd film.

Daniels confidence in his own vision certainly applies to his notable casting choices that distinguish his films. He is a great director of actors and makes sure that they understand his own background and reasons for employing certain character types and situations. In Shadowboxer, Macy Grey is not only credible, but terrific (as was Mariah Carey in Precious). He gets an understated performance from Cuba Gooding Jr. which alone is a worthy achievement. Helen Mirren deserves accolades, for not just being the great actress one expects, but for maintaining needed integrity in what must have seemed a risky venture. She anchors the story beautifully in what are, to say the least, some bizarre situations. The casting of Mo'nique as lover to Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also wonderful. And Stephen Dorff's full frontal, Trojan and all, is on for the records. In fact, Lee Daniels general obsession with male beauty and asses is a theme in itself. Hello Gus Van Zant! I suppose in the wrong mood you could find the movie just over the top. Even though it's far a perfect film, it is great fun and shows Lee Daniels as a director of force and confidence.

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