Paddy Considine excels on both sides of the camera in an emotionally-charged boxing drama.
Despite stellar turns in the likes of ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ and ‘In America’, Paddy Considine still feels underrated as a screen actor. With ‘Journeyman’, a love story wrapped inside a boxing movie, he reminds us of what he can do on both sides of the camera – and as a screenwriter, too. It’s a gentler human drama than his terrific but tough directorial debut ‘Tyrannosaur’ (dog lovers can breathe easy), but equally emotional.
It kicks off like a standard boxing flick – the final fight, the gobby challenger, the loyal corner men – but soon spins off on its own painful path. Considine’s veteran fighter Matty Burton has always made the most of what he has, but it’s all taken away when a last pummelling leaves him with brain trauma. His wife, Emma (Jodie Whittaker), is left to carry the strain of looking after a baby daughter and an incapacitated, volatile husband.
‘Journeyman’ may be intimate but it never feels small. Scenes between Emma and Matty are a tangle of pain, anger and love. Considine captures the physicality of a wounded man adrift in his own family with sensitivity – ‘Regarding Henry Cooper’, this isn’t – while Whitaker brings naturalism and warmth as an equal player in the fallout. There are sympathetic vignettes, including one with Matty’s ex-adversary (Anthony Welsh), but it’s the two of them who give the film its punch.
Cast and crew