MOVIE REVIEW: Journeyman

Boxing Drama.  Paddy Considine stars and Directs in this Boxing Drama which focuses more outside the ring than inside.  Matty Burton is flying high after winning the title belt by default, after 30 plus fights, and he’s about to step in to defend the title and make himself feel like he deserves the belt.  His loving wife and baby daughter offer him the love and support that any boxer would dream of.  His next fight is against a younger man who wants to destroy him, and the fight goes well, after the fight is when things go from bad to worse.

Boxing movies have a strange place in my heart, it’s hard to watch one without thinking of Rocky, but it’s the overwhelming fight back that gets to me.  Here in Journeyman we have that.  The fight back isn’t in the ring though, the amount of times that I came close to breaking down and crying, and will admit that I did cry at one moment.

The film shows the effects of boxing on the family, on the person, and those around.  I’ll be honest and tell you that this film hit me a knock out punch during the film with one phone call between the characters.  Journeyman’s story felt a little rushed through at moments and the end, which caught me off guard.

You cannot fault the performances with Considine, who almost two roles to play, pre fight and post fight Matty are 100% different characters.  Considine has always been an emotion based actor, even in his comedic roles, but I’ve enjoyed his performances since seeing Dead Man’s Shoes.  After the fight and the head injury takes over the story we get one of the better dramas that I’ve seen in a long time.  I just felt that we get short-changed with scenes that should have been placed in.  Jodie Whittaker plays Matty’s wife Emma who struggles with the new Matty that she is faced with, trying to raise their infant daughter and basically having to teach Matty every skill from the beginning.  Whittaker is a true talent, and as the new Doctor Who will be something to behold, but seeing her in this role you can’t help but feel she’s going to be on short time in the Tardis as bigger brighter roles will present themselves.

The fight back to a somewhat normal existence is hard to watch, and I thought that we were going to get a Rockyesque style fight back to the ring.  Thankfully Considine and company lift this film up to the levels of a Mike Leigh style film rather, which is never a bad thing, so this film has more going for it than it has going against it.

Who is the audience?  If you like good modern dramas and a little boxing then this is for you.  I thought that if this was on BBC or ITV, channels we have this side of the pond, it would make more sense.  Is it a cinema movie? Depends on your own personality.  Considine is a great actor and story-teller who knows how to evoke the emotions in the viewer, the supporting cast offer a natural style of acting than enhances his personality.  It’s not perfect but it’s damn fine.  Journeyman failed in one respect which is to make the point of hammering home the dangers to fighters with long careers in the ring, when you see the results to Matty, you’ve got to understand that a lot of fighters get to this point without the financial rewards that this character attained.  I love watching fighters, but I love when fighters know to call it a day, this film could have said more and it’s that faint jab that lets it down more than anything.

Director: Paddy Considine
Writer: Paddy Considine
Stars: Paddy ConsidineJodie WhittakerPaul Popplewell & more…. See full cast & crew


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