Journeyman is Paddy Considine’s second feature film in which he writes and directs, and stars in this one too. It tells the story of Matty Burton a hardworking boxer who wins a World Championship belt and subsequently manages to defend his title against a younger, brasher opponent (‘The Future’) but in doing so he suffers a devastating brain injury that takes away almost everything that he was. Previously a dedicated, loving, family man, full of vitality and life he is now limited in his movement and abilities. As we go on he becomes withdrawn, impatient and aggressive due to his injury and inability to complete, or even remember, the simplest task or most prominent memory.
As we are exploring this aftermath, Matty’s friends, his backroom boxing team, remain absent so it is up to his wife Emma (in an excellent performance from Jodie Whittaker) to pick up the pieces and try to put them back together in some semblance of a life. Eventually it becomes too much for her to handle both him and their little baby, Mia, as well.
I could say that this is another fight, the biggest fight of his life but that would be a weak cliche, and at times it does touch on these cliches but for the most part I found it to be an earnest, heartfelt family drama. Matty works so hard to regain the things that he lost and hopes beyond hope that he has done enough to bring back his family. I have never been a big fan of Paddy but I thought he was fantastic in this, to go from the virile, macho boxer to debilitated, incapable dependant is impressive. His mannerisms to portray the effects of this injury were breathtaking and heartbreaking to see.
This isn’t an easy film to watch. Rock bottom is hit and then you think that there isn’t anywhere else to go he manages to find a little bit more. The performances are all excellent, the story is decent, even with some of the more cliched moments I can gloss over but for the most part this is an engaging, emotional drama.
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆