Paddy Considine wrote, directed, and acted in Journeyman. This type of total control can often be a recipe for disaster, but Considine has instead used it to create a classic British boxing movie.
Journeyman begins by introducing aging champion Matty (Considine). He must defend his belt from new upcoming fighter Andre, also known as “The Future.” So far, so obvious. However, this is not your standard boxing movie. In fact, there is minimum time spent within the ring at all. Journeyman is instead more concerned with what happens after the fight. Without giving too much away, something comes out of left field and makes this film a truly moving, completely heart-shattering story. Matty is left to pick up the pieces of his once stable life.
Considine is as good as he’s ever been as Matty. Matty must come to terms with his new life, but doesn’t know where to begin. The film, however, as much about Matty’s wife Emma (a superb Jodie Whittaker) as it is about the boxer himself. Their relationship strains and stretches as they struggle through a tragedy. It is the emotional core of the movie and the two of them work excellently off one another. Whittaker is the caring wife, struggling to cope with her husband and her young child. Considine is the lost boxer, unsure of everything around him and how to react to it.
What makes Journeyman so devastating, aside from the incredible central performances, is that it feels so realistic. This is no heightened Notebook-esque love story. This is painfully close to home, which Considine and cinematographer Laurie Rose do well to convey.
Unlike a lot of other movies shown at London Film Festival which stray way past the two hour mark, Journeyman is a tight 85 minutes. In that time Considine and Whittaker have crafted a more emotional, more impactful film that any of their overblown LFF competitors could muster up.
Journeyman is a completely captivating movie with two tour-de-force lead performances. It is absolutely a must-see.