Director: Rod Lurie
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Alan Alda, Teri Hatcher, Harry Lennix, Kathryn Morris, Dakota Goyo
A young journalist writes a story about a homeless man who claims to be a former heavyweight champion contender. In order to help his flagging career, Erik (Hartnett) rushes forward with the story, but it will raise questions about the boxer’s past that puts everything in jeopardy.
This is another of those sports movies that’s not really about sports. This is much more about pride and the image you have of oneself in the hopes that it will inspire respect from others. The story is strong, and is based on true events, although it seems that they changed some fundamental points in the film.
Jackson gives a superb performance that reminds people that he can actually act rather than just appear on screen and be cool in films, and I feel he should have got more recognition for this. He and Hartnett work well together, and Hartnett gives a solid performance as the anchor of the film. The family drama is sappy at times but the theme of fatherhood runs throughout the film and elements can be found in all of the subplots, but mainly it’s how in Champ Hartnett sees a possible mirror of his own future.
The film examines in integrity in the face of ambition, and I think it’s really fantastic. I can’t believe that I haven’t heard more about this film because it’s really really good and it’s one of those hidden gems on Netflix that seems to have flown under the radar a bit.