The Boxer

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The Boxer

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The third collaboration between Daniel Day-Lewis and Irish director Jim Sheridan (after My Left Foot and In The Name Of The Father) is as powerful as the two that precede it. Day-Lewis plays a once-promising boxer who, upon his release from prison after serving 14 years for his role in an IRA action, returns to his old Belfast neighborhood during one of The Troubles' short-lived cease-fires. Having sworn off the IRA, he attempts to reestablish the interfaith boxing club of his youth as he renews a friendship with the woman he left behind (Emily Watson of Breaking The Waves). Meanwhile, larger political and social forces threaten any progress he makes. Films about sensitive political matters always run several risks. They can come off as heavy-handed (as in Sheridan writing partner Terry George's Some Mother's Son) or one-sided and didactic. Through quietly fiery performances by Day-Lewis and Watson, as well as novel-like depth and complexity, The Boxer not only avoids these pitfalls but emerges as a thoroughly engrossing movie.

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