Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Journeyman - review

Paddy Considine follows up his incredible debut feature Tyrannosaur with a film that cements his position as one of the best British writer-director-actors in the business. A true triple threat.
Born from his love of boxing, Journeyman is the story of Matty Burton, a middleweight champion who faces a brash, young upstart for the title but will find that his biggest fight will come outside the ring.
He suffers a debilitating brain injury brought on by a vicious blow to the head and is faced with the task of rebuilding his health, his life and his relationship with his wife and daughter.
Rocky III this is not.
It certainly does not fit the format of your standard boxing movie. Yes, there is the scenes of the press conference where Burton verbally spars off against "The Future" Andre Bryte, deflecting jabs left and right about how the match will be "life changing". Then there is the fight which is deliberately shot in a different style to the likes of Raging Bull and Rocky.
But following the fight, there is no "training for a rematch", there are montages but they are of Matty's rehab as he trains for one goal and one goal alone. Winning his wife back.
The heart of the film is the relationship between Matty and his wife Emma played by Jodie Whittaker.
Considine proved with Tyrannosaur that he can write and direct incredible performances for woman with Olivia Colman, and he has done it again here.
Whittaker gives an award-worthy performance here and goes toe-to-toe every step of the way as she tries to find her husband in the man who stands before her.
Their relationship takes some very difficult, shocking turns along the way and the audiences allegiances may shift between the two fighters more than a Russian crowd siding with Balboa vs Drago.
It builds towards the final rounds which features two of the most heartbreaking and moving scenes that will leave audiences in tears after delivering some devastating gut punches.
Journeyman is a real contender for the title of Best British Film of 2018 and may well be standing tall at the end of the year thanks to two genuine knockout performances.

4 stars

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