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Danny Flynn (Daniel Day Lewis) and Maggie Hamill (Emily Watson) have been drawn to each other since they were teenagers growing up in Belfast: they have seen bullets shatter bedroom windows and bombs rip apart local pubs, and are bound by ancient, unquestioning loyalty to the ties of blood, tribe and tradition. Now, after 14 years in prison, former IRA member Danny is returning to the neighbourhood where Maggie has managed to survive by marrying, and raising a son by Danny's best friend. As a boxer determined to restore himself in the ring, Danny is capable of resurrecting his people's self-respect. As a man, he can renew his own self-respect and perhaps build a life with Maggie, one that is not only worth fighting for, but worth living for.

Review by Louise Keller:
Jim Sheridan's skillful direction brings pace and heart to this powerful drama, making us care deeply for its two enigmatic lead characters, embroiled in the violent and bitter Irish/British conflict. While there have been many films and stories on this topic, Sheridan has brought abundant passion and commitment to the story, with an economical script and sterling performances. Of course, this is not really a film about boxing, but the story of a desperate man looking for salvation and intent on building himself a new life.

Daniel Day-Lewis erupts on screen with a forceful presence to be reckoned exemplified with strength, passion and humanity as a non-violent character committed to a violent sport. Emily Watson is electric: her penetrating eyes, face that mirrors the soul and a cheeky smile that would thaw an igloo. Their scenes together capture every nuance, beautifully described: each silence a moment of anticipation. Their relationship retains an innocence that began 14 years previously, while their passion is as mature as vintage wine.

The moody music score brings melodies with themes that sing, while the use of ethereal, uncertain questioning phrases through scenes with violence, accent the futility of it all. The very essence of living in constant fear is poignantly portrayed, while the boxing ring becomes the political battlefield. A dynamic tour de force, The Boxer is above all a love story, which moves, haunts and above all, entertains.

Published January 29, 2004

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CAST: Daniel Day-Lewis, Emily Watson, Ken Stott, Gerard McSorley, Brian Cox, Eleanor Methven, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Kenneth Cranham

DIRECTOR: Jim Sheridan

SCRIPT: Jim Sheridan, Terry George

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen, dolby digital 5.1



DVD RELEASE: January 3, 2004

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