This is excellent entertainment. An unemployed, ex-con, ex-miner is given an opportunity to bare-knuckle fight for money. The film was shot in and around Coalburn in Scotland and uses very authentic accents and local vernacular. Coalburn was chosen for its grim countryside and rusting relics of the mining industry. The miners' strike of '84 is used in the film almost as a character in its own right. It sets a backdrop of sheer hopelessness to all of the characters. Neeson gives an outstanding early performance. The story evolves at a quick enough pace. Humour is used to punctuate the gloom. Billy Connolly is the house clown and delivers well. There is a scene in a bar where Neeson gets talking to a fellow drinker about the achievements of the Scottish race. It is simple, not over-clever and hilarious. The bare knuckle fight is stomach churning. The sound effects are cringingly realistic and it is not for the squeamish. I didnt get the ending. I am sure some deep, meaningful point was being made. I just didnt get it.
A very interesting film but not without flaws. What I liked is that it didn't go where I thought it would. The score is beautiful. Ennio Moriccone just gives it a classic timeless quality. The performances are good, just the script is a bit all over the place. The fight is very good, very real and very brutal, again very unexpected. A decent watch for anyone interested in bare knuckle fighting.
I BOUGHT THIS FILM MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE ACTORS LIAM NEESON AND JOANNE WHALLEY. AND THEY DELIVER. THE GRITTY FIGHTSCENES ARE THERE, BUT I FIND THE LIFESITUATION FROM THAT TIME EVEN MORE WORTH A CLOSER LOOK. HOW NEIGHBOURS AND FRIENDS HANDLE HARD TIMES, IS WHAT MAKING THIS A GREAT FILM FOR ME.