The Boxer

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Jim Sheridan

REVIEWED: 01-20-98

This slow-moving drama about provincial life in besieged Northern Ireland is somewhat of a knock-down, drag-out affair. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Danny, a former IRA member who returns to his home in West Belfast after 14 years in prison. Though the opening sequences introduce us to the IRA members' fierce loyalties, clandestine meetings and passionate toasts to "the prisoners" and "the prisoner's wives," Danny-boy strangely receives only frosty looks and stern warnings from his former friends and leaders. When he sets about reopening the boxing gym where he trained as a youth--a facility open to all faiths--suspicions and rivalries reach a fever pitch. More dangerous than his apolitical silence in the ring, however, is the unspoken threat that he's back for Maggie (Emily Watson), his childhood love who's now under the district's watchful, paternalistic eye as the wife of a prisoner. Though by far the best movie of recent memory to tackle the tragic violence and hatred wrought by IRA activity, The Boxer is strangely boring, relying more on contrived images and meaningful looks than emotive and revealing storytelling. Though The Boxer has all the right moves, it lacks the punch writer-director Jim Sheridan delivered with In The Name of the Father and My Left Foot

--Wadsworth

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