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Stars: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Paul Popplewell, Anthony Welsh, Tony Pitts

Director: Paddy Considine

A boxing picture that's also an anti-boxing picture, predominantly the latter. In his last fight before retirement, middleweight boxing champion Matty Burton (Considine, who also scripted and directed), who enjoys a loving relationship with his wife Emma (Whittaker) and baby daughter, sustains catastrophic brain damage while outpointing feisty young challenger Andre Bright (Welsh).

After weeks in hospital, he's still beset by headaches, while even the simple tasks of life confound him, as he begins an agonisingly slow process of rehabilitation.

Plaintive piano music underlines the mood here, as Matty often fails to make it to the toilet, hits his wife, smashes anything to hand, and, driven to distraction by the cries of his baby, locks her in the tumble dryer.

We share his frustration and her fear as he fights to clear his brain of the enveloping fog that threatens to destroy them both.

Neither Considine nor Welsh really look like boxers, but their brutal fight is well choreographed, especially to underline the impact of blows to the head. The film, however, is unremittingly sad, and becomes at times a tough watch.

David Quinlan

UK 2017. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour (unspecified).
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 24 Mar 2018