Sunday, February 13, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

This is not just a boxing movie. It's a boxing movie with a lot of heart. This is a story about hope, and giving hope when all seems lost, about dogged determination, and never giving up, about relationships and second chances.

The multiple themes in the movie are carefully brought out throught the excellent interaction between the various major and minor characters, and whilst the focus of the story might seem to be on the boxing, it never is, and you're kept glued on the screen, exploring the narrative and backgrounds of every character introduced. This is not to say that the action sequences are mediocre - they are shot so subtly, that it feels as if you're in or around the ring and swinging with the blows.

Narrative in a nutshell - Eastwood is a boxing trainer whose star protege left him. In comes newbie white trash Swank who begs him to train her, as she believes that he could bring her to the top of the game. And so begins the father-daughter relationship that they establish, as they haul themselves from fight to fight, win to win, until the title shot where they must pay the ultimate price in this brutal sport.

It's good to see Eastwood and Freeman team up on screen again - character acting never had it so good, and it feels like old friends on screen with the advice they dispense to each other. Hillary Swank did wonders with the physical demands of this film, and her taut body put shame in mine.

A Definite Oscar worthy contender.

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