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MouthShut Score

89%
4.39 

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Multi-layered masterpiece
Apr 11, 2005 10:41 AM 1864 Views
(Updated Apr 11, 2005 12:21 PM)

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Oscar fever continues to delight me, with the most successful of them all this week. Swank, whose acting abilities had got the Oscar seal once already, teams up with Eastwood, who has shifted gears for good from his Western flick days.


The story is a simple one, with hardly any complications. A waitress who is passionate about boxing forces a more passionate trainer to take her under his wings. If you thought you could guess, maybe from the title, how things would go from thereon, you would be in for a surprise atleast towards the end of the movie.


The two big characteristics of this movie are the lack of melodrama and the lack of cliches. The latter is evident not just in the turns the story takes, but even in cinematography, editing and music. In spite of many moments in and outside the ring providing scope for histrionics, the tight leash prevails, letting the viewer savour it. Dialogues are relatively short, with some punch-lines thrown in. The few side-stories set the context very well and develop the many layers of the movie. The boxing scenes are very realistic, not letting you feel for a moment that the people involved are actors. The toned-down jokes are spaced out well, though they disappear in the latter half of the movie.


Like many such movies, the pace can be a bit painful at times. Initially, the movie seems to focus on the boxer but later, shifts almost completely to the trainer. Nevertheless in the end, you understand what the main story was. Though violence is expected when boxing is around, a few shots draw big gasps.


Eastwood is good even after existing for almost three-quarters of a century. The effort put into his voice modulation, costumes and body language with his eyes still being able to convey emotions is simply terrific. Swank does what is expected of her -- she lives the role to perfection. It's a pity that we don't get to see her more often. Freeman's role is slightly different from what we usually see him in. He brings the lighter moments of the movie, while also providing important twists. He plays second fiddle to Eastwood happily, but has the honour of narrating the story.


Cinematography is perfect, keeping the audience focussed to a small area. Sometimes, you wish there was more light though. Music -- done by Eastwood himself was a surprise to me atleast -- is minimal and apt. Art direction, costumes and make-up complete the pretty picture.


This is not a movie that just flashes brilliance now and then. It is a movie that would grow on you. The various threads would become clearer when you watch it multiple times. Eastwood adds another feather in his (cowboy) cap and also provides Swank with a gem.


[4.5 stars]



Bottom-line: Touching story and fantastic acting -- want anything more?


Category: Drama / Sport


Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank, Morgan Freeman


Music: Clint Eastwood


Direction: Clint Eastwood



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