‘I am not half as strong as you are…..‘ These words uttered by Mae Braddock seem more funny to me towards the climax than Paul Giamatti’s acid wit, for its irony. It is her character rather, rather than Crowe’s that is dominating here. James Braddock(Russel Crowe) thinks he is risking everything when he agrees to fight Max Baer, a man who has killed two in the ring. I rather think it is Mae who is making the bigger sacrifice, unrelenting on her stance to not let her husband fight. She prefers a poverty-ridden, shameful existence rather than being a rich widow. That’s love.
The setting is of the Great Depression. Braddock is an old, arthritic boxer and this is not a screwball from James McKay, it’s a serious offering from Ron Howard. Believe me, watching more and more movies gives a critic clarity. I have never preferred the term ‘critic’ however, makes me sound like a ‘movie-ripping-monster’ of sorts. I am passionate towards this art-form. And that will dictate my writings ahead, so if you like to read them who give you rational reviews, I would suggest closing the tab right now because I am just about to write exactly what I am feeling, deep down inside.
If this had been the only movie that I had watched today, I would have given this movie a 9.3 rating, for sure. That unfortunately says volumes about my credibility as film-critic (they really need to find a new word for that). Earlier this afternoon, I rewatched a modern classic of-sorts, Silver Linings Playbook. And, well, I can’t really get the hang of the words to describe it for all the words of praises seem a few inches short of aptly describing it. What is relevant with regards to this review, is how a movie which seemed so predictable at the start, ruptured the cliches which seemed to dictate to produce something so beautiful, it felt like that dream you pray so hard to have and remember.
20 something minutes into the movie, I could almost correctly predict the entire plot of Cinderella Man. The fact that it is a true story cannot be an apt defense for it, for I knew the twist of The Usual Suspects before I watched it, and it still had me on the edge of my seats. The movie will be exactly what you hope for, unfortunately, that ain’t swell all times.
But….(Obviously there was a but coming) the passion of a director and the actors can change the entire ball game. And director Ron Howard has loved this tale from all his heart. I hate describing performances, for what can you say that others can’t ? Is Russel Crowe brilliant ? Yeah. Is Renee Zellweger fabulous ? Yes, she is. Is Paul Giamatti amazeballs ? Yes, he is. These are guaranteed actors. You put them in a Razzler worthy movie, and they would still shine. What is beautiful here is the chemistry between them. How real they seem when they care for each other. They really seem to care, believe me.
Salvatore Totino, Howard’s go-to-man, employs those camera flashes to generate a hallucinatory effect through out the movie. Howard excels at recreating the entire excitement that promulgated over America as it cheered for the underdog, the hero of the masses, Braddock.
Did I love the movie ? Hell yeah, I did. It is bounded by the shackles of cliches and that was dampening for me, but you see, and I am guessing you can relate, okay. Do you all have that one member in your family that keeps on saying those same old-stories over and over again, but somehow, although you know it by rote from the start to the end, find yourself drawn to it and you sit there and listen to the whole damned thing ? Why do you do it ? ….. Because he says it with that same zeal and enthusiasm he told it with the first time you hear it. When you really want to tell a story with all your heart, people will sit and listen, no matter what. Howard has that zeal, Howard has that energy. And I am honored to sit and listen.
Folks, here’s a moving picture that actually moves.
Rating :- 8.1 / 10
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