American cinema of the 70s. Rightly cherished. It was a fertile time when a new wave of young filmmakers broke through the doors after a period of confusion re: how to market movies to young people. All bets were off. It's positively delightful that one of the best, most emblematic (!) films of the era (and, well, one of the best of all time) was directed by Hollywood pro (royalty, really) already in his sixties.
Old Keach is outstanding in his (semi) star making turn as a coulda been alcoholic boxer who cannot seem to get out of his own self destructive way. He is especially moving in the last third of the film as he slowly devolves back into his shell of self pity and hopelessness. A great character study in the guise of a boxing movie about the tragedy of depression. Bridges is good but this this stacys show. Huston = MAN
A real gem in the great catalog of Hustons. He really embraced minimalist filmmaking here and the result is a mini-masterpiece. Keach and Bridges seem made for their roles and deliver great performances. The downbeat nature of the film really captures the feel of the city the characters are in. This is like the anti-Rocky. There are no heroes here. Essential entry in American 70s cinema.
The fatalistic theme reminded me of The Hustler, though this isn't nearly as oppressive or intense an experience. Unlike Rossen, Houston treats his painful subjects and beaten characters with smiling compassion but the film doesn't ring any less true or dispiriting because of that. It also contains one brutal match to watch, in which the spectator has no guy to cheer for, we just want it to end.
A quietly brilliant take of life's losers. "Before you get out of your room, your life makes a beeline for the drain,” states Tully, entirely broken at 30, who epitomizes pure hopelessness. The cast of fragile characters battle valiantly against inevitability, but like a broken record they are stuck in an unbreakable cyclical of repeating the same mistakes. For them the past looms large, & the future's already gone.
A film about those who lose, self-destructive characters, about how sometimes being yourself means to become "a failure". The film is gritty, slow-rolling and has a subtle, dry sense of humour; with very strong performances and great cast it definitely grows on you.