Tuesday, 11 January 2011
The Set-Up 
Robert Wise’s The Set-Up, apart from being an engrossing film noir – and a pretty fine one at that, it might also rank as one of the greatest boxing films ever made (maybe second only to Scorsese’s Raging Bull). It was also one of the earliest films to be shot almost entirely in real time; it begins and ends with clock timings displayed, and time elapse within matches with the film’s length. This kinetic, compact, pulsating and razor-sharp film has as its protagonist an ageing boxer who still believes he can make it big despite the numerous reversals that has left his wife mortally scared for his life. Robert Ryan, as “Stoker”, the washed-up boxer, and though liked by all, but regarded as a has-been by most of his peers, has given an exemplary performance. Though he still believes he can defeat his much younger and highly regarded opponent, his manager has secretly taken money from a mob-boss, and though Stoker comes to know of the deal much later into the fight, he decides to continue full throttle and flatten his opponent in the last round after some of the most gut-wrenching fight sequences ever filmed. The result however brings unpleasant consequences for him. The film didn’t just portray in amazing and nerve-racking details the boxing duel, it also did a fine job capturing the reactions and emotions of the blood-thirsty fans at the ring-side, as well as Stoker’s fellow boxers who range the entire gamut thinkable. And this all has been captured through great camera-work and editing.
Director: Robert Wise
Genre: Sports Drama/Film Noir/Crime Thriller