Journeyman Review

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Paddy Considine once again shows he’s a man of many, many talents.

by Sharuna Warner Mar 29, 2018 at 7:22 AM

  • Movies review


    Journeyman Review

    Paddy Considine's sophomore effort as writer/director sees him taking centre-stage in a powerful tale ripe with superb performances.

    Paddy Considine made a name for himself as an actor way back when he made his debut appearance starring in Shane Meadows’ A Room For Romeo Brass, a role that was both incredibly cute and playful but carried with it a very dark edge. His acting and writing collaborations with Meadows would continue and see him play Richard in Dead Man’s Shoes - a powerful and memorable, not to mention violent, dramatic thriller. Since then Paddy has gone on to star in many other smaller roles, staying primarily within the wings, not stepping into the lime light.
    But now, Paddy has stepped up to the plate with a film (ten years in the making) that he not only stars in as the leading man but that he both wrote and directed. There have been a number of boxing films released over the years, Rocky and Raging Bull to name two of the best, but there hasn’t been a film that delves into the effects of boxing and possible consequences that can arise- both physically and mentally. Journeyman does exactly this but it simultaneously tells a wonderful story of love, family and a fight to hold onto the things and people you hold dear.

    World Champion Matty Burton (Considine) has already got a title win under his belt, but speculation and dispute over the circumstances of his win continue to overshadow his incredible success. So when an opportunity to lay to rest any doubts and defend his title comes up, Matty understandably rises to the challenge. With the support of his close friends who also double up as his training and coaching team, as well as his love wife Emma (Jodie Whittaker), Matty sets about preparing for one last fight, a fight to once and for all show the world what he’s made of. Determined to take him down a peg or two is the cocky and arrogant challenger Andre Bryte (Anthony Welsh) who is dead set on taking the title from Matty to show everyone what a fake and phoney he really is. Neither Matty not Emma could possibly anticipate what follows nor prepare themselves for the impact that this final fight has upon their lives.

    Journeyman is an incredible film that is foregrounded in the world of boxing but sidesteps away and delivers a powerful story of a lesser discussed side to the oftentimes brutal sport. At the risk of spoilers, and to be perfectly honest Journeyman works best if you know nothing about the film, I have purposefully avoided going into any detail on the main storyline. So if you can, avoid any trailers and any reviews that go into the films detail because the film's power comes from going in unprepared and unsuspecting. There are some very emotionally intense scenes (bring a tissue!) but they all work cohesively within the framework of the film as a whole. Considine uses the family home within the narrative, quietly commenting on its significance, and using it to demonstrate how everything has changed within Matty’s world. Making this his second feature film, following Tyrannosaur back in 2011, Considine has definitely cemented his status as a more than capable writer and director, and I for one, can’t wait to see what his next project will entail.

    Journeyman is a truly wonderful if at times emotional film, one that tells a story about real people without the need of fancy visual effects or an elaborate narrative.

    Paddy Considine once again demonstrates that as an actor he has many, many facets. In a role that must have been incredibly emotionally draining, he delivers a performance that is heart breaking in places and intensely unpredictable in others. The performance is well researched and perfectly nuanced and the chemistry between him and Whittaker is palpable; the scenes with the two of them together are the film's strongest points. Their relationship is both loving and brutal and the film doesn’t shy away from showing this. Whittaker is brilliant as Emma who is pushed to limits she never thought possible. My only criticism is that she isn’t used enough throughout the film. There are moments when Emma’s point of view could have really punctuated the film and added another dimension - but I fully appreciate that this is a film about Matty Burton. The supporting roles from Matty’s boxing team, Paul Popplewell and Tony Pitts, add some humour and show just how much Matty has affected those around him.

    Journeyman is a truly wonderful if at times emotional film, one that tells a story about real people without the need of fancy visual effects or an elaborate narrative. It’s simple and that’s the beauty of it. Yes it’s about boxing but there is so much more to it. Paddy Considine is utterly brilliant and Jodie Whittaker is the perfect choice to stand next to him here. A great film that hopefully won’t go under the radar and will instead get the praise that it deserves.

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