New Orthodox movie, Stephen Graham
Orthodox (2015), from TRIBECA winning director David Leon, fits all the tropes of the classic underdog boxing movie – telling the story of a man's struggle to find identity a North London Jewish Community.
The new film, from actor turned director David Leon stars Stephen Graham (This is England, Boardwalk Empire) as a young Jewish Londoner who turns to boxing to defend himself against social persecution. As a child, Benjamin is abused for his faith and turns to boxing to defend himself. When against his father's will, he refuses to give up the sport, Benjamin is driven from home and alienated from both his family and the wider religious community.
Turning to the boxing gym for shelter, Benjamin soon becomes embroiled in the lucrative but illegal practice of bare-knuckle fighting. He is ultimately sucked in from the peripheries of a criminal underworld which leads to a tragic event that destroys a life that he has worked hard to sustain.
Whilst the fight scenes in Orthodox are particularly well directed – the cinematography punchy and the violence hypnotic – the film struggles to retain its momentum. One interesting idea which Orthodox draws upon is the parallels between religious orthodoxy and dedication in the sporting world, as well as the tension between religious commitment and the strains of a modern secular society.
The sense of community that these institutions can provide is powerfully and emotively drawn, and there are also some good performances – notably from Michael Smiley as Shannon, Benjamin's manager and confidante. But ‘Orthodox’ lacks subtlety: both its characters and situations seem loosely drawn and it fails to truly engage with its potential.
|What||Orthodox film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
19 Feb 16 – 31 Mar 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to the Orthodox IMDB page.|