EASTWOOD,HILARY SWANK,MORGAN FREEMAN,JAY BARUCHEL,MIKE COLTER,LUCIA
RIJKER,BRIAN F.O'BYRNE,ANTHONY MACKIE,MARGO MARTINDALE,RIKI LINDHOME
ON THE STORIES FROM "ROPE BURNS" BY F.X. TOOLE
BY PAUL HAGGIS
BY CLINT EASTWOOD,PAUL HAGGIS,TOM ROSENBERG & ALBERT S.RUDDY
BY CLINT EASTWOOD
Eastwood stars as the cantankerous Frankie Dunn, a boxing trainer/manager,
who owns a gym called the "Hit Pit". A grizzled veteran
of the boxing profession, Frankie is known to be over protective of
his fighters. When his top fighter leaves him, Frankie (who does not
believe women should belong in the boxing ring), reluctantly takes
on enthusiastic struggling waitress Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank).
After a shaky start, a strong bond develops between the two as Maggie
rises up the female boxing ranks at a rapid pace.
One of his best achievements as both an actor and a director, Eastwood
(along with frequent director of photography Tom Stern) has created
a visually strong, emotionally moving film filled with rich characters,
courtesy of Paul Haggis' excellent adaptation of F.X Toole's (real
name Jerry Boyd) critically acclaimed "Rope Burns", a collection
of short stories based on Toole's experiences in the boxing world.
Eastwood gives his best performance since Unforgiven,
while Hilary Swank makes a triumphant return to form as the white
trash boxer from Missouri. The father/daughter relationship that develops
between the two characters fills a void in both of their lives. Frankie's
daughter doesn't want anything to do with him and Maggie's father
has passed away leaving her with an ungrateful family.
Morgan Freeman gives a great performance as Eddie 'Scrap-Iron' Dupris,
a former boxer neglected by his minders resulting in the loss of his
right eye during a boxing bout. Beaten down by life, Eddie is taken
in by Frankie. He lives in the gym and works as the cleaner, staying
in the background as Frankie and Maggie rise to the top. The character
provides narration throughout the film.
The world of female boxing is not sugar coated at all, and this can
be uncomfortable for some viewers. The fight scenes are very well
choreographed and ultra-realistic and you can tell Swank put in a
lot of work for these scenes, getting into excellent shape and showcasing
impressive boxing skills. And although up their with Rocky
and Raging Bull as one of the best boxing movies ever
made, the film does take a cruel and unexpected twist.
This is more than just a sports movie, with the hefty subject of euthanasia
(one of the few taboo subjects left in cinema) creeping in a surprising
third act. Along with The Sea Inside (which was released
the same year), it tackles the issue head on which resulted in criticism
form various organisations. I strongly believe that regardless of
a person's opinion towards the subject the film itself should not
be seen any less than the fact that Million Dollar Baby
is a great movie.