Saturday, 27 December 2014

Fat City [1972]

Fat City, based on Leonard Gardner’s novel of the same name, one of John Huston’s late-career successes and a fine example of a sports movie, was a grim and lyrical film that nicely captured the themes of loneliness, disillusion and disappointment among has-been and wannabe small-time professional boxers. The story’s two main protagonists were Billy (Stacy Keach), an alcoholic former boxer who believes he could have been someone during his prime but now all he intends to do is get back in shape and once again step into the ring in order to make his ends meet, and Ernie (Jeff Bridges), a naïve 18-year old who just doesn’t have it in him to go the distance despite the potential in him noticed by others. Two others who played key roles in this deft character study were Oma (Susan Tyrrell), a perennially depressed barfly who gets engaged in a brief fling with Billy courtesy their affinity towards cheap liquor, and Ruben (Nicholas Colasanto), a manager of average abilities who has a plethora of losers under his wing. Dashed hopes, false illusions and pain, both physical and psychological, were thus the dominating emotions here. The few boxing sequences that were there, were filmed with utmost grittiness and in-your-face realism, and unlike most sports films, the opponents, wherever delved into, too turned out to be tragic characters; thus the finale, where Billy is pitched against a grim-faced Mexican in considerably physical pain, turned out to be heartbreaking as they smash each others already broken down bodies. Competent performances and excellent photography of the town’s dirty lanes, rundown buildings and dimly lit bars, made the film all the more naturalistic and affecting.

Director: John Huston
Genre: Drama/Sports Drama/Urban Drama
Language: English
Country: US

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