Monday, 5 September 2022

Punch: Movie Review

Punch: Movie Review

Cast: Tim Roth, Jordan Oosterhof, Conan Hayes
Director: Welby Ings

As sensitive a coming out story as ever you will find, director Welby Ings' Punch is a story that benefits greatly from its restraint.

Punch: Movie Review

It's the tale of 17-year-old Jim (Oosterhof) who's after boxing glory thanks to the relentless pushing from his alcoholic father (Roth). However, Jim's journey is permanently altered after he begins to fall for outcast schoolmate Whetu (Hayes).

With his father literally gambling everything on Jim' s success, the pressure's on - but will Jim follow his heart or his blood?

Punch is beautifully helmed by Ings and whilst it takes its time and occasionally meanders, it more than makes up for it with its prodigiously-talented cast. 

"People pretend it's all rainbow flags and it's not" one character intones at one point, and as this subtle tale unfolds, nothing could be closer to the truth.

Roth's always a joy to behold, but there's a rugged ruinous approach to his father character with a late reveal pushing the sentiment as far as it can go.

However, it's not Roth's star that shines brightest here - both Oosterhof and Hayes make for compelling viewing as the coming out experience is given a blisteringly restrained approach. Set against its rural backdrop and inevitable prejudices, Punch may tread some familiar routes and story beats, but it's in the telling of the tropes that Ings and his cast excel.

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