Exactly how long did it take the geniuses behind this tale of love and boxing in Belfast to come up with the name Danny (Daniel Day-Lewis) for their main character? I mean, for God's sake, there must be some other name for heroes in Ireland besides Danny. In my book, this movie would have been at least one bomb less intolerable if we could have watched "Nambuyamba, the Irish Boxer."
Like Danny, everything in this tale of modern Ireland is so predictable it's painful. Director Jim ("In the Name of the Father") Sheridan needs to find a new story that doesn't entail repetitious moralizing about violence between Ireland's Protestants and Catholics. They worship God; they shoot each other. What the Irish need isn't a movie about a boxer -- they need a crucifix that doubles as a pistol.
In this iteration, Danny Flynn gets out of prison after fourteen years and returns home to his love, Maggie (Emily Watson). The only problem is that Maggie has remarried and has a kid. Nobody wants Danny anywhere near Maggie because Maggie's husband -- Danny's best friend -- is in prison. Maggie is beholden to a code that dictates wives have to be faithful to their husbands while they rot in jail. If you violate it, you get shot. I'm aware of their history of oppression, but perhaps once -- just once -- the Irish should try solving a moral conundrum with a tactic other than shooting somebody.
In addition to being dull, "The Boxer" is a carnage of bad dialogue. Maggie and Danny spend an inordinate amount of time standing around looking at each other as Maggie says: "Danny, why did you come back? Danny, what's wrong with you? Danny, what are you going to do? Danny, is that a sausage in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" If it had in fact been a sausage, this film might have been saved.
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