There’s not much to say about the boxer, Russell Crowe’s new film, directed by Daniel Graham. The very classification of “Russell Crowe’s film” lacks relevance, since the actor, born in New Zealand, assumes only a secondary role in the trajectory of the central character, Jem Belcher – a legendary reference in the history of boxing, champion of England in the first 19th century – played by Welshman Matt Hookings.
The name of Hookings appears, in fact, twice more in the generic: producer and screenwriter. The news says that his commitment is rooted in the fact that he is the son of David Pearce, a champion who went down in boxing history as the Welsh Rocky.
We are dealing with a conventional narrative, divided into three schematic and deterministic parts: we met Belcher in childhood, inspired by his grandfather’s (Crowe) rebellious and fighting spirit; we follow his rise, in a context in which boxing was beginning to be recognized by the most powerful social classes; finally, we have the predictable and interminable final fight, punctuated by a lot of hemoglobin and an aggressive soundtrack, in a disastrous imitation of the angry bull (1980), by Martin Scorsese.
What remains is the unusual, not to say absurd, of the very premiere of the boxer in Portuguese rooms, prolonging a strange decomposition of criteria in the treatment of some titles in English. It is worth remembering that this is a film with the seal of Amazon studios. Its productions are ultimately destined for the respective streaming (Prime Video), rarely having “the right” to be seen in the rooms, even dispensing with the promotional effect of the Oscars. Let us recall the symptomatic example of this prodigious film that is Being the Ricardosby Aaron Sorkin: not even his three nominations in acting categories – Nicole Kidman (actress), Javier Bardem (actor) and JK Simmons (secondary actor) – meant that, in the Portuguese market, we could see him in the theater.
What, then, makes a drastically secondary, artistically irrelevant and commercially fragile product appear now in the rooms of NOS? Is it an attempt to prolong the success it has already achieved in other countries?… Not exactly.
If we consult a reliable source about movie money (the Box Office Mojo website), we can see that the boxer it only debuted in two countries (Croatia and Russia), having accumulated a pathetic revenue: 106 816 dollars (practically the same in euros). However, it is coming to Prime Video from other countries (for example, in the United Kingdom, on the 22nd).
In short, films are not “better” or “worse” because of the choices (legitimate, that’s not what it’s about) of those who put them on the market. But in the face of these contradictions, we can once again ask what is being done – or is being done – to revitalize the so fragile circuit of theaters. And remember that, at least for Amazon, the name of Nicole Kidman is not enough to commercially value a film.