Sunday, 9 October 2011

REVIEW: Knuckle

Or My Big Fat Gypsy Bare Knuckled Boxing Match ...

Bareknuckle boxing is very strange, people consider it somewhat more brutal than normal boxing, but it's not really the case. Sure, the idea that your face is being pummelled by bone rather than a padded glove might seem ridiculous, but the bareknuckle boxer tends to get his fist damaged during the bout, especially on the face (hence old school photos of Victorian boxers, the reason why their fists are so low is you damage yourself less when aiming for the body) and therefore it might seem there is more superficial damage, but there are less deaths or long-term damage as you're not smashing the head all the time, like pro boxing.

Anyway, whatever. Knuckle is a man's pet project over the course of over a decade following two warring Irish families as they fight with each other again and again in these little civilised bareknuckle fights. It follows the Quinns for the most part but you often see the side of the Joyce's but, to be honest, it just gives these guys something to do. It's a sad tale of how these guys can only prove themselves one way, and that's fighting.

We even join director Ian Palmer in the sheer voyeurism of watching the sport, we're caught up in the blood lust that we see on the screen and Palmer even admits it had got too much and he had to stop. The way they make their own WWF (or should I say WWE) style trash talking videos is amazing, and the fights themselves sell for more than a few quid, with the fighters getting paid regardless. It's a strange affair and most of the time, the people are completely self-aware that it's more for pride than anything, there's enough money, bile and boredom to fuel the feud for a while yet.

It's strange to watch a documentary where you don't actually care for the subject, or any of it's characters, that much. It's a commentary of what is seen as an underground culture, but is clearly a thriving commodity in the travelling community. It's not got much depth, but it's an interesting watch.

Rating: 6/10

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