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Former youth champion boxer Jimmy McCabe (Johnny Harris – Also credited as the Writer) has hit rock bottom. Fueled by alcohol, the death of his mother and the impending loss of his house, Jimmy’s life has spiraled away from him. Determined to turn things around and make some money, Jimmy returns to his former gym to re-unite with his mentor Bill (Ray Winstone) and corner man Eddie (Michael Smiley) to prove he has what it takes.
Despite an all star British cast including the ever present Ian McShane; Jawbone is simply a procession of boxing movie tropes full of desperate attempts to be gritty. Boxer Jimmy seems unable to endure the sunshine as despite he passing of time the sun never seems to rise as director Thomas Knapper pushes to create a sense of despair. Far too often the audience are greeted with slow motion and too close for comfort close ups as Knapper and Harris try again to flood Jawbone with depression and anxiety.
Boxing movies aren’t known for their unique scripts, forever filled with rock bottom moments greeted by inspirational mentors that lead to world beating highs, but Jawbone adds even less than most, with its only unique input being that nobody wins a world title and Jimmys re-birth is in a illegal no mark fight for £1000. Whilst this could have built a brilliant film, ultimately this is just Ray Winstone being Ray Winstone and Ian McShane being Ian McShane with needless other characters thrown in the mix. Not even an original score by Paul Weller could save this film.
Jawbone isn’t terrible, and if it’s on TV, and you like boxing films I’d say give it a good go, but for me, a huge fan of the sporting genre despite it’s ever present tropes Jawbone just didn’t light up the world and it’s difficult to care for the characters. A shame, but I won’t be looking for Jawbone again any time soon.