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"TWENTYFOURSEVEN"
(1998) (Bob Hoskins, Danny Nussbaum) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Heavy Mild Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Heavy Moderate Mild Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A middle-aged man tries to reestablish a boxing club to get the troubled youths off the suburban streets of his English Midlands neighborhood.
PLOT:
In the English Midlands during the 1980's, times are tough and the Prime Minister's politics have laid waste to once thriving industrial communities. Young men, feeling they have no place or purpose in life anymore, roam the streets, get into trouble or do drugs to pass the time. It's against this setting that Alan Darcy (BOB HOSKINS), a middle-aged man, sets out to help those troubled youths.

Remembering back to the time when a local boxing club helped him out of similar conditions, Darcy plans to reopen such an establishment. With the financial backing of Ronnie Marsh (FRANK HARPER), a less than reputable local businessman, Darcy opens the club and Ronnie's overweight son, Tonka (JAMES CORDEN), becomes his assistant. Among those he manages to convince to join his club are Gadget (Justin Brady) a local drug addict, as well as Knighty (JAMES HOOTON), a young man who has a problem controlling his temper, and Tim (DANNY NUSSBAUM) who's trying to escape from his meanspirited and controlling father.

As the young men's spirits rise with their participation, Darcy readies them for a big boxing exhibition, but must deal with several obstacles, including Ronnie's heavy handed involvement and Tim's overbearing and abusive father.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's not very likely unless they're big fans of boxing or boxing movies.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, violence and some drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BOB HOSKINS plays a man who wants to help the troubled youths of his town by getting them involved in a local boxing club. Although he tries to be inspirational, at the end he severely beats a man for ruining his boxing exhibition.
  • FRANK HARPER plays a shady businessman who financially backs Darcy's boxing club, but does so more for the publicity that it will bring him, than for the idea that it might do some good for the local youths.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
    Something of a mix between the recent boxing pic, "The Boxer," and a variation on the middle- aged man trying to help some younger boys story of "Dead Poets Society" fame, director/co- writer Shane Meadow's feature film debut occasionally shows promise, but otherwise comes off as a low budget, poorly constructed bit of filmmaking.

    Although it features a decent performance by actor Bob Hoskins, this black and white, near documentary style film features a weak, loosely assembled plot that doesn't stand up under much scrutiny. Meadows and co-writer Paul Fraser tell us too many things in narrative instead of allowing us to see and experience them for ourselves, and thus that lessens the picture's impact to such an extent that we don't personally get involved in the story (unlike "The Boxer" that follows something of a similar storyline).

    While we're told that the young men are troubled, we only see a few pieces to indicate that (beyond Gadget's drug problem) and thus don't feel Darcy's urgency to reopen the boxing club. Worse, however, is that if these guys really were such troublemakers, there's no way they'd join that club without facing serious repercussions if they didn't. Other than Gadget who will go to jail if not for Darcy's pleading to the court for leniency, we're supposed to believe that a brief soccer scene -- where Darcy challenges the guys to take shots at him as goalie, and if they miss enough of them, they have to join his club -- is enough impetus to make them agree.

    Then there's the issue of the guys suddenly all changing their ways and getting along without much effort from Darcy. On his part he does tell some inspirational stories, but only in voice over narration as he writes (or reads) them in/from his diary. Don't expect any moving "Dead Poets Society" or "Good Will Hunting" scenes here, for this "therapy" or teaching is mostly subliminal at best.

    The film also tries to tackle many differing issues, but skirts over much of them without any rounding success. First, there's the whole bit about the economically depressed suburbs in which these characters reside and how Thatcherism (the film is set when Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister) destroyed these towns and shattered these young men's dreams. While we're told this in Hoskins' voice overs and we see the desolate settings -- all of which is the backdrop for the story -- it's never explored beyond a superficial glance (The title, "TwenyFourSeven," by the way, refers to these people being stuck in the same conditions twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week).

    Several other scenes deal with dysfunctional families and domestic abuse, but again Meadows uses that just as a filler. Beyond assuming that the substandard economic conditions have caused such strife, we never know much about these matters and they're not even remotely explored. The same holds true for the large ensemble of young, troubled characters, many inhabited by friends of Meadows who have little or no acting experience. Although we can differentiate them by their appearance, except for a few we know next to nothing about these characters. Most are interchangeable with the others, and with the thick British accents one has a hard time even knowing their names, let alone what they're saying.

    Hoskins ("Mona Lisa," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"), on the other hand, is given a plum role and he plays it with the relish of someone who's been waiting for such a part for quite some time. Although we never get to know the man as well as we'd like (or should -- a few well-written interchanges between him and one or two of the young men would have easily worked) he's always interesting to watch on screen.

    Despite the plot problems, Meadows occasionally shows promise and some of his scenes are nicely done and occasionally intriguing -- including a fun training sequence in Wales, as well as a nice, intimate and self-inspirational story about this little planet that we all occupy. His decision to shoot in high contrast, and extremely stark black and white film is obviously meant to symbolize the living conditions of this neighborhood (which it effectively does), but it often gives the picture too much of a low budget feel and hints that the director is trying to emulate the look of "Raging Bull" (Martin Scorses's acclaimed and highly stylized black and white film about prizefighter Jake La Motta).

    Unfortunately, this is no "Raging Bull" or "The Boxer," nor the before mentioned films with Robin Williams playing the mentor to impressionable, young men. While it's easy to see what Meadows is trying to achieve, most of the plot comes off as too contrived and hastily constructed for us ever to really get involved. To top it off, the ending -- while shocking -- isn't at all congruous with the rest of the story and feels too mechanical for its own good. Other than Hoskins' decent performance as the lead character, there isn't much else present to cause us to recommend this film. Thus, we give "TwentyFourSeven" a 3 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Although it's doubtful many kids -- or adults -- will want to see this film, here's a quick look at its content. Profanity is extreme with more than 60 "f" words. Violence, which occurs in and outside the boxing ring -- including a severe beating of a man at Darcy's hands -- rates as heavy and occasionally gets somewhat bloody.

    One character is a drug addict and beyond seeing him smoking pot, we also see him severely zoned out from such activity in one scene. Other than some tense family moments (featuring an emotionally and physically abusive father) and the fact that more material may be present than what we've listed (due to heavy, often unintelligible accents), the rest of the categories don't have much in the way of major objectionable material in them.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Gadget is a known drug user and we occasionally see him smoking a joint, as well as drinking alcohol. Darcy later finds Gadget completely zoned out (from drugs) and stays with him to help him go straight.
  • Some of the guys show up at Darcy's club drinking beer.
  • Some people drink beer in a pub and the guys drink in a pool hall.
  • One of the guys drinks liquor straight from the bottle.
  • Tim's dad drinks a beer at the boxing exhibition as do others.
  • Darcy drinks after losing his temper and severely beating a man.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Darcy has what looks like dried blood on his head when Tim finds him.
  • Although neither bloody nor gory, there is an outdoor "bathroom" scene where we see several guys urinating (we see just the urine stream) as well as others squatted down on the ground (we don't see anything else).
  • We see blood on Ronnie's car door as well as blood running down Darcy's face after Ronnie slammed his head onto his car.
  • We see a guy in an emergency room with blood down his face and onto his shirt from a bad nose bleed.
  • A boxer has some blood on the side of his head after a match.
  • A man's head is very blood after being pummeled by another man.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some of the guys in rival factions have both as they don't get along early in the story.
  • Tim's father has both as he emotionally and occasionally physically abuses his wife and son.
  • One of the guys has both as he often loses his temper and gets into fights.
  • Tonka's father says his son's named that "because he's fat." Later, Ronnie tells Tonka, "You can't go through life being fat and stupid."
  • Upset at Darcy for his name not appearing in a newspaper story (over which Darcy had no control), Ronnie grabs Darcy from inside the car and slams his head onto the car, knocking Darcy out and severely cutting his head.
  • Darcy, mad at Tim's father for disrupting their big boxing exhibition, severely pummels him (punching, head butting, kicking, slamming his head against a wall, hitting him with a board, etc...) until he's nearly dead (which we believe to be the case until later in the story).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Upset at Darcy for his name not appearing in a newspaper story (over which Darcy had no control), Ronnie grabs Darcy from inside the car and slams his head onto the car, knocking Darcy out and severely cutting his head.
  • Darcy, mad at Tim's father for disrupting their big boxing exhibition, severely pummels him (punching, kicking, slamming his head against a wall, etc...) until he's nearly dead (which we believe to be the case until later in the story).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles/Handgun: Carried by some of the guys while out hunting.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "For f*ck's sakes," "Bloody" (the British adjective), "Bullocks," "Bastards," "Punks," "Shut up," "Stupid" and "Idiot."
  • The guys pour lighter fluid onto a boxing glove and throw it into the ring that then catches on fire.
  • Tim has a nose ring, as well as several earrings in his ear.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • Due to a poor audio mix/sound reproduction and the heavy British accents, the following should be considered a minimum.
  • At least 62 "f" words, 21 "s" words, 5 asses, 5 craps and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ," "Jesus," "Christ," and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Due to a poor audio mix/sound reproduction and the heavy British accents, the following should be considered a minimum.
  • Several guys talk about one of them "scoring" with a woman and they use other slang and euphemisms in describing this.
  • As Darcy carries a drugged out Gadget from the bathtub (where he was trying to rejuvenate him), we see partial glimpses of Gadget's pubic hair as well as parts of his bare butt.
  • There's an indication that two of the guys are gay.
  • SMOKING
  • Tim and his buddies smoke many times (varying by individual) throughout the movie. Likewise, Tim's parents smoke, as does Ronnie (cigars), his wife, and others in the backgrounds of scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Tim's father is always emotionally abusive to him (calling him names, not supporting his participation in the boxing club, etc...), as well as to Tim's mother, and both occasionally transcend into physical contact.
  • Tonka's father says his son's named that "because he's fat." Later, Ronnie tells Tonka, "You can't go through life being fat and stupid." He also mentions that his latest wife has left him and Tonka, and the boy later says that his current mother is the third this year.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether boxing is a good substitute for getting troubled guys off the streets.
  • The effects that "Thatcherism" had on middle to lower income families in England.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Two rival factions push and shove each other over some fish and chips.
  • Whether you consider it a sport or violence, there are many scenes where boxers repeatedly punch their opponents.
  • A boxer loses his temper, pulls off his gloves, and repeatedly punches and kicks his opponent.
  • Tim's father smacks him after hitting his wife with a newspaper.
  • Upset at Darcy for his name not appearing in a newspaper story (over which Darcy had no control), Ronnie grabs Darcy from inside the car and slams his head onto the car, knocking Darcy out and severely cutting his head.
  • The guy who always loses his temper kicks another opponent in the ring.
  • Darcy, mad at Tim's father for disrupting their big boxing exhibition, severely pummels him (punching, head butting, kicking, slamming his head against a wall, hitting him with a board, etc...) until he's nearly dead (which we believe to be the case until later in the story).
  • The guys pour lighter fluid onto a boxing glove and throw it into the ring that then catches on fire.



  • Reviewed May 11, 1998

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