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13th Jun 2019

One of the best British boxing movies of recent years is on Film4 tonight

Wil Jones

Paddy Considine has established himself as one of Britain’s most powerful directors

Acclaimed British boxing movie Journeyman, directed by and starring Paddy Considine, has its network premiere on Film4 on Thursday night and is certainly worth catching if you haven’t seen it yet.

Paddy Considine has long been one of the best actors working in the UK. He made his name working with Shane Meadows on films like Room For Romeo Brass and Dead Man’s Shoes (which he also co-wrote). As well as appearing in other great British movies and shows like Hot Fuzz24 Party People and Peaky Blinders, his talents soon got him noticed by Hollywood.

In the mid-2000s, he crossed the Atlantic to appear in big-budget films like Cinderella Man and The Bourne Ultimatum – but Hollywood was not for him.

“Hollywood has never beckoned. I don’t work hard enough at that to be recognised there, do you know what I’m saying?” he told JOE last year. “I’m around other actors, who say how heavily they pursue certain things, and it is just not in me to do that. Hollywood is not a nurturing ground for talent”.

Instead, he has turned his hand to directing back home in the UK. His 2011 debut Tyrannous was a gruelling-but-powerful tale of domestic abuse and redemption, starring Olivia Colman, Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsden. It was met with critical acclaim and awards success – so his follow-up was eagerly awaited.

2017’s Journeyman saw Considine now act as well as direct, taking the lead role as Mattie Burton, a veteran middleweight boxer whose life is torn apart after suffering a debilitating brain injury in a title fight. He retains his title but loses himself, and his family.

It is a film not about his fights, but Mattie’s journey outside the ring (hence the title). Considine is excellent, as is Jodie Whittaker, who plays his wife struggling to help him get back to health.

That’s not to say the boxing scenes don’t pack a punch. Considine is a fight fan and his passion for the sport shines through.

What makes Journeyman stand out is the boxing world it depicts – one that is rarely shown on screen. There are plenty of boxing movies that show the glitz and glamour of a Vegas title fight. And there as equally as many that are about seedy figures throwing fights in dinghy cesspool. But Journeyman is about the middle – the pro fighters who aren’t household names but are watched by fight fans up and down the country every weekend.

Journeyman is on Film4 at 9pm, Thursday, June 13th, and you can read our full interview Paddy Considine about the film here.