Welcome To The Punch

19 Mar

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Right, I’m going to let you in on a secret before you really start reading; I did not like this movie. There you are, cards on the table, we all know where we stand now. Okay? Ok.

Welcome To The Punch follows Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), a wanted criminal who is forced to return to London after his son is shot. Also in London is detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy). Three years earlier, Lewinsky had been chasing Sternwood after a heist, but things went wrong for our young detective and he’s been dealing with the consequences ever since.

The film deals with the consequences of Sternwood’s return to England’s capital City and Lewinsky’s determination to bring him to justice. That failed chase years earlier still weighs heavily on Lewinsky’s mind and, predictably, impacts on his judgement in his work .

Welcome To The Punch feels like a story without any real sentiment. In Max Lewinsky, James McAvoy places a lot of heart, but fails to create a character with any real emotions. It’s hard to tell whether this is the fault of McAvoy himself, or if it’s down to the work of director Eran Creevy. Too often, we are left with lingering shots of McAvoy as he tries in vain to convey some emotion through face-acting. (Yes, Face-acting. Screw your proper terminology). On more than one occasion he is delivered some bad news and the camera pans onto his face, leaving us to watch him seethe. And by seethe, I mean breathe deeply and flare his nostrils. In hindsight, I do feel McAvoy was let down by ill-judged direction rather than by his own acting.

Mark Strong too is let down. Not by the same problems in direction, but by being a character with no depth. Sure, we know he returned to London at risk to himself because his son had been shot. So, obviously he’s a loving dad, yeah? It’s hardly depth though. Just like Lewinsky’s entire back story consists of the fact that he was once shot, so Sternwood’s has only one facet too. Strong does what he can, in fact his performance is good, but it all leaves you feeling no emotion for anybody on screen, and how easy is it to maintain interest in characters you don’t care about?

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There are decent turns here for Johnny Harris and Peter Mullan, both of whom are afforded significant supporting roles. The highlight of the film is one very amusing scene in which all four of the men mentioned here are gathered in one room with one characters grandmother. A key, funny, standoff takes place and it feels like we might finally be getting somewhere.

By this point though, I was already clock-watching and willing the film to end so I could get out of the cinema. Also included in the film is a ridiculous attempt to shoehorn some politics into what is essentially an action film. Something about elections and arming police. I don’t know, I lost interest.

Ultimately, it feels like a film going through the motions, failing massively to draw the best from a decent cast. It achieves the distinction of being the worst film I have seen at the cinema in 2013, and one I would urge you not to waste your pennies on.

5/10

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2 Responses to “Welcome To The Punch”

  1. musicMagpie March 19, 2013 at 16:55 #

    Great post and blog – consider yourself followed! Thought it was a watchable movie myself but agree with you that its foray into politics was misguided at best – if it was trying to make a point then it was lost on me.

    • Richard Burns March 19, 2013 at 17:05 #

      Very kind of you to say, thank you. The politics was bizarre and so forgettable I nearly forgot to add it into my review. Misguided is a good word to give to it!

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