With this story of a champion boxer trying to rebuild his life after serious head injury, actor-turned-filmmaker Paddy Considine returns to the territory of rage and redemption explored in his directorial debut Tyrannosaur. Journeyman follows a more familiar tale of overcoming adversity, but like his debut, it still packs a pretty powerful emotional punch.
Considine is Matty Burton, a boxer nearing the end of his career. With one final prize fight ahead of him, he prepares to take on cocky newcomer Andre Bryte. Hours after the epic battle is fought though, Matty collapses. Head injuries sustained in the bout are severe enough to require brain surgery and reduce Matty's cognitive function to a childlike level. As he attempts to rebuild his life, his wife Emma (Doctor Who's Jodie Whittaker) tries desperately to support him. What Matty hasn't lost, however, is his pride; unable to give voice to his frustrations, he lashes out in increasingly violent ways that push his marriage to breaking point. His journey of recovery is marked by such everyday routines as shaving and making cups of tea which become yardsticks of independence, of a life reclaimed inch by grueling inch.
Journeyman might begin as a ringside spectacle but it develops beautifully into an intimate and moving character study, boasting exceptional performances from Considine and Whittaker at its core. Make sure to bring those tissues though, this film will put you through the ring-er.
Information published by Leisure and Culture Dundee.
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