• Publication date: December 26, 2010

He fought for his beliefs. Now he must fight for her love. The Boxer: A Lesson in Perseverance

As a teenager Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) was passionate about defending his nation and religion. Like many other individuals in his neighborhood and family, he believed that the best way to achieve this was to join the Irish Republican Army, or IRA. The group was not above using violence to get its point across, and in fact it did on numerous occasions. Bombs or bomb threats were typical. Unfortunately Danny became entangled in a terrorist plot at the age of 18, and spent the subsequent 14 years behind bars.

As a teenager Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) was passionate about defending his nation and religion. Like many other individuals in his neighborhood and family, he believed that the best way to achieve this was to join the Irish Republican Army, or IRA. The group was not above using violence to get its point across, and in fact it did on numerous occasions. Bombs or bomb threats were typical. Unfortunately Danny became entangled in a terrorist plot at the age of 18, and spent the subsequent 14 years behind bars.

After being released from jail Danny returned to his childhood stomping ground. Maggie (Emily Watson), his girlfriend before being incarcerated, married another man and has a teenage son named Liam (Ciar�n Fitzgerald). Despite Maggie's marital status an attraction still exists between the two former sweethearts, one that they both struggle to extinguish.

If they cannot control their urges however, local IRA lieutenant Harry (Gerard McSorley) intends to force them to. Harry's enmity toward the relationship is twofold. First, Maggie's husband is currently imprisoned for carrying out militant IRA operations; the organization's code forbids its members from marrying the wives of imprisoned comrades. Secondly, Harry fears that Maggie's father, IRA district chief Joe Hamill (Brian Cox) could be easily manipulated if he forms a close bond with Danny.

After 14 years of self-reflection Danny subtly distances himself from the IRA. He connects with his old pal and boxing trainer, Ike Weir (Ken Stott) and proposes that they build a non-sectarian gym for aspiring young boxers. Ike agrees, and the two begin. While renovating Danny finds a cache of weapons hidden underneath the gym's floor. Rather than turn them over to the IRA, he opts to give them to the police instead. This infuriates Harry. Meanwhile Liam believes his mother's relationship with Danny has gone too far, and he burns the gym down in retaliation.

Despite more than a decade behind bars, Danny still dreams of resurrecting his lucrative boxing career. Since he is a marked man in Belfast, and not particularly well off financially, he heads to London. He finds himself in a real-life version of Fight Club, where a wealthy, well-dressed audience happily pays hefty sums to see desperate men brutalize one another. The fight is certainly not the highlight of his career � to say the least. More troubling, however, is what he will find upon returning to Ireland.

The Boxer was well received by critics and earned 3 Golden Globe nominations.

Year: 1997

Duration: 113 minutes

Genre: Drama, Sport

Starring:

Daniel Day-Lewis

Emily Watson

Brian Cox

Ken Stott

Gerard McSorley

Director: Jim Sheridan

Rating: Rated R for strong sexuality, explicit language, drug use, and violence.