Danny Flynn (Day-Lewis) returns to Belfast after 14 years in prison for IRA activity. He's an outcast, castigated by a former boxing colleague Ike (Stott) for having wasted his talents; by old flame Maggie (Watson), now married to a jailed terrorist, for the ruin of their relationship; and by Republican militants for having renounced violence outside the ring. Despite the disapproval of Maggie's son and father (Cox), a peace-seeking Republican leader who views the resumption of their affair as personally and politically dangerous, Danny and Maggie find themselves drawn together again. Moreover, Danny teams with Ike to set up a gym where training and bouts ignore the sectarian divide. But even love and the most modest projects can fall foul of ingrained prejudice. This may not offer a hugely original take on the Troubles, but it does deliver dramatically. Day-Lewis, taciturn and strong-willed, is as persuasive as ever, while Stott and Cox offer strong support. While Sheridan (who co-wrote) weighs in with gutsy, gritty direction, shooting the fight scenes with panache and cutting sharply throughout for suspense and pace. Politically, too, it's sensitive and sensible.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jim Sheridan, Terry George|