Paddy Considine’s heartbreaking boxing drama is a deeply affecting tale featuring strong leading turns from its two leads. The sport of boxing has lent itself to some great dramatic movies over the years and Journeyman does follows suit, but be warned… this is a tough watch at times.
Matty Burton (Paddy Considine) holds the championship belt and is coming to the end of his career. His next opponent is Andre Bryte (Anthony Welsh), a bullish and arrogant fighter who talks the talk and is confident of beating Matty quite easily. A gruelling fight ensues, and after the bout Matty collapses at home.
After suffering brain damage and memory loss, it’s left to his loving wife Emma (Jodie Whittaker) to care for him as his condition worsens and his support unit disappears from around him. The strength of this emotionally charged story stems from an outstanding lead performance by Considine. Very much a passion project of his having also written and directed Journeyman, Considine is magnetic onscreen, delivering in essence two distinctly different performances of supreme substance.
Whittaker, who we will soon see as the new Dr. Who has always been a talent you can rely on and her character’s story is just as important as Matty’s, with Emma having to raise their young child alone whilst struggling to care for her husband. Whittaker and Considine have a wonderful chemistry, especially at the start of the film which really sets up the back-story well.
This is an emotionally charged film that doesn’t pull its punches and there are a few uncomfortable scenes that grip you like a vice. The story shifts focus in the middle and whilst that story is rewarding to follow, I would have liked to have seen Emma’s character more. It’s her story and her reaction to the devastating events around her that makes the film so compelling. But even when she’s not onscreen, there’s plenty of emotion on show.
If rumours are to be believed, this might be Paddy Considine’s last movie before he retires. I sincerely hope that’s not the case because he is a talent that we simply must have in cinema today. His quest to tell interesting, involving dramatic stories about real people and real lives is something we can’t do without. If it is his swansong, then Journeyman is a glorious way to go out. But like most boxers, don’t completely rule out a comeback just yet.
Cast: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Paul Popplewell, Tony Pitts, Anthony Welsh Director: Paddy Considine Writer: Paddy Considine Released By: Studiocanal Certificate: 15 Duration: 92 mins Release Date: 30th March 2018