x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Poor Boy's Game

Set in the port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this quiet little film explores the effects of a racially motivated crime on a divided community.

Set in the port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this quiet little film explores the effects of a racially motivated crime on a divided community. Donnie Rose (Sutherland) is released from prison 10 years after a brutal beating left the budding black boxer Charles Carvery severely brain-damaged. A decade of hard time has taught Rose remorse and he struggles to adapt to a world still rife with prejudice, in particular the views of his brother, Keith (Greg Bryk). Meanwhile, across town, the black community is ready for him and soon Rose is challenged to a boxing match with his victim's childhood buddy and boxing champ, Ossie Paris (Alexander). The scene is set for a cathartic thrash-out, but things take a strange twist when Charles's father, George (Glover) inexplicably steps in to train Rose. Fragile and broken, this is not a Glover we know, but his is undoubtedly the film's defining performance. In fact, so convincing is his tormented portrayal of inner conflict (hatred for his son's attacker and an inability to act on it) that we forget to question his motives, and instead focus on the intriguing relationship unfolding between perpetrator and protector. Sutherland is baleful and brooding as a man keen to make amends and Bryk plays his racist brother with convincing intensity - but Virgo fails in the last minute with a disappointing, safe resolution.