Australian Intelligence Exposed

Cinderella Man

The Thomas Sutcliffe Diaries
Trevor Spall
Conpsiracy theories
Introductions by famous people

It was 1933. America was in the middle of the great depression. 15 million people were unemployed, people were starving, and whole families were living homeless in New York’s Central Park.


It was during this period that a bloke who hit people for a living captured the heart of the nation. Ex boxer James Braddock was offered a one time fight. He was not expected to win. He was just ‘meat’. He was meant to go down in the first round. What happened next has been hailed as one of the most amazing stories in sporting history.


Although a rags to riches story, director Ron Howard resists the temptation to sink into the Rockyesque quagmire of the slow mo and inspirational music. Although there was the obligatory training montage, its impact somewhat dampened by my mental accompaniment of the ‘We Need a Montage’ song from Team America, Howard avoids too many boxing clichés.


The fight scenes are the best bits of the film. I never considered myself particularly blood thirsty, but by the end of the film was wiggling in my seat muttering ‘hit him you git’ and making little punchy twitching movements with my fists. I knew I was being manipulated, but it was so good I didn’t mind.


Although looking and sounding very like Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe showed why we should put up with the odd telephone hurtling incident: regardless of that boy’s attitude to modern telecommunications, he sure can act. I hate boxing and I loathe Russell Crowe, but Ron Howard’s skillful direction had me on the edge of my seat cheering Rus on. He was very likeable and you can just tell that the real James Braddock was one of those Ray Martin all round top blokes. Even non boxing people can grasp the desperation that lied behind Braddock’s amazing courage in going up against younger and stronger opponents.


But it was Paul Giamatti, with an endearing mix of humour and credibility, who carried the film for me. God bless America for its wonderful supporting actors.


Renee Zellweger plays Russell’s overly nauseating cardboard wife. She tries, but clearly this is a boy movie about boys hitting each other and doing manly boy stuff and you can tell Howard didn’t give her enough direction. This is a shame, as the overly long sappy scenes and Howard’s disregard of the female characters were the only things holding this film back from being a terribly scary example of how to make a very effective movie.


But will someone please tell Rene to stop making that Bridget Jones ‘O’ face. It just kept making me giggle and think about Colin Firth.

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