Volume 91, Issue 59

Wednesday, January 14, 1998



Day-Lewis' career is now 3-0

Gazette File Photo
"I'M ON CANDID CAMERA ?" Everyone's favourite British boy with an Ireland complex, Daniel Day-Lewis, is seen here gearing up for a big fight in the hot new film, The Boxer.

By Vivien Cheng

Gazette Staff

Daniel Day-Lewis is a fighter. From day one he was fighting – first for his left foot in the name of humanity, then for justice in the name of his father and now for peace in the name of Maggie, the woman he left behind.

The story takes two paths that intertwine into one. The first concerns the political upheaval between the Catholics and Protestants while the second runs across the path of unrequited love between Danny and Maggie, two high school sweethearts.

Danny Flynn, played by Lewis, is a former IRA activist who is released from prison after serving 14 years for a convicted bombing. In seeking to rebuild his life, Danny returns home to Belfast where he constructs a boxing gym and tries to resurrect his boxing career. He finds that Maggie, played by Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves) has married and has a son, but he is undeterred. Because Maggie's husband has been imprisoned for his IRA involvement, Maggie and Danny are united in a tale of forbidden love – a relationship heightened by a political standpoint. As a former activist who's out for peace, tension grows between Danny and his old-ring buddies – especially with Maggie's father, the ringleader.

In The Boxer, Lewis teams up once again with director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot , In the Name of the Father). Sheridan's words about the turmoil and chaos in modern-day Ireland are more subtle, but the voice is just as powerful.

A similarity is drawn between the way Danny's boxing gym welcomes both students and audiences of all religions and the way that Danny fights for peace between the Catholics and Protestants. His boxing routines and competitions house the same anger that he channels to stand for what he believes in – both the political issues as well as his shunned relationship with Maggie.

The relationship between Danny and Maggie is fragile and intense, like the crumbling society around them. The forces against the couple are strong. But without an avid understanding of the uproar between the two religious parties, a viewer might be inclined to ignore this force that heightens the couple's endangerment. The film does little to enlighten the uninformed audience member otherwise.

The love story in itself, however, is enough to carry the film, as both Watson and Lewis contribute all they have. Their straightforward appreciation for each other in a time of constant societal confusion only helps to defend their case. On the whole, The Boxer is another great contribution to Sheridan and Lewis' collection.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998