The Boxer | Chicago Reader

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At 32, Danny (Daniel Day-Lewis) may be old for a boxer. The former activist has just been released from prison, and his return home to Belfast becomes a volatile event when an old comrade learns that Danny has been seen with Maggie (Emily Watson), the wife of a man who's still in prison. As personal and political agendas mix, with deadly results, director Jim Sheridan parallels the moderated violence of boxing with the unchecked violence of terrorism. When Danny's training, the whooshing of his jump rope resembles the effect used later when he jabs at an opponent in the ring; the sound becomes so familiar that when a vicious blow finally lands it's far more shocking than the telegraphed acts of terrorism. But the screenplay of this 1997 feature, written by Sheridan and Terry George, demonizes one man to make some obvious points and allows Day-Lewis and Watson to talk up their characters' 14-year history more than demonstrate it. 114 min.

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