Welcome to the Punch (d. Eran Creevy UK 2013)

Welcome to the Punch (d. Eran Creevy UK 2013)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews.

 

Welcome to the Punch is a british film and is produced by Ridley Scott. What this might suggest is probably more damaging than helpful. Depending on your knowledge, you could be expecting anything from a Hollywood blockbuster (due to Ridley Scott) to the art-house independence due to being British. The director Eran Creevy is also a relatively new name to cinema and has only directed one feature previously. Which may cast doubts as to the films worth. Personally I had no prior knowledge of the film and I believe this helped, although I have seen some impressive performances by James McAvoy. I would like to avoid spoilers so I shan’t be giving a synopsis, although my discussion of the films themes will undoubtedly give expectations of the films genre and style.

 

One of the more commendable aspects of this film could be its treatment of narrative. A typical film will have a three-act structure that can be fairly formulaic and quickly predictable. Characters exist, and then there is a problem to complicate that existence. This is followed with an event that resolves this problem. Welcome to the Punch encourages the spectator to not only see one narrative thread, but two. After an introduction to Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) and the theme of violence (more on that later), the film starts fresh with two separate narrative threads that are also connected to each other. Due to the position of each ‘protagonist’, the sympathy of the spectator for the characters is very complex. Both ‘protagonists‘ are essentially anti-heroes. However it is this connection with the audience that is essential to the film’s successful treatment of a dual narrative. This type of narrative structure also relies heavily upon the performances of its central characters.

 

Without a connection to the characters the narrative, as it develops, could be either predictable or without a motive. Each of the protagonists has a strong sense of duty and morals whilst keeping an individual anger and hatred. This sense of anger and hatred appears ethically questionable in the bigger picture, but personally and psychologically well grounded. The characters show a rather difficult sense of transition and development as their virtues play off against their vices. This leads to some very tense moments when the actors have to perform a perfect mix of emotions within a moment. Fortunately, the acting in this film is impressive and makes for some very compelling scenes. However some of the supporting characters lack this ability from time to time. This causes a sense in which they are less characters, but more devices to be played off of by the lead actors. The Narrative complications are a result of the emotions of the characters and it was very important for this film that the actors did their best.

 

For all of the films merits particular its sophisticated use of plot and characters, the film isn’t without faults. Welcome to the Punch‘s treatment of violence, first off, should be commended for a realistic depiction. Max Lewinsky suffers a leg wound early on which troubles him throughout the rest of the film. This, contrary to typical hollywood violence, gives a realistic look on violence. The self injections to remove fluid was especially grisly and were effective at continuing his pain through the film. However the standard set by this element of violence isn’t kept by the rest of the film and characters do go on to suffer gunshot wounds as well as heavy beatings without properly being effected. This would continue the romanticised view of violence that Hollywood would tend to take. Violence isn’t painful it is essential to solving your problems. For a film that attempts a realistic view on violence through the early wounding of Max Lewinsky, it provides a second problem. The effect of realistic violence is weakened as it is then contradicted by the rest of the violence. If we were to take the violence as romanticised, it causes the realistic effects of violence to be seen not as realistic but as romanticised. It becomes a symbol of masculine power – it is an obstacle for the man to overcome alone. I would place this as one of the biggest problems with the film.

 

To conclude this film is refreshing in its sophisticated use of character and plot. Refreshing in the way that it doesn’t treat a spectator as a spoon fed moron. For this quality the film is unpredictable and interesting. The complex psychology provide a given depth to the characters but also outshine the supporting cast and their characters. But most problematic is the inconsistent treatment of violence that romanticises violence and romanticises the realism of violence too. Welcome to the punch!

 

Welcome to the Punch Reviews

Trailor

Eran Creevy Interview

Eran Creevy on London Screenwriter’s Festival

Guerilla Filmmaker Eran Creevy

James McAvoy

James McAvoy Fan

Mark Strong

Interviews

Narrative Theory



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