Paddy Considine has been one of our strongest and most exciting filmmakers for a long time. His work, most famously dark drama Tyrannosaur, has pushed intricate, bleak, and humanely layered side of cinema. Aside from his impressive acting career, Considine is a filmmaker at the forefront of excavating the depth of humanity and allowing us to be a part of that story.
In his latest film, this excellence continues.
Considine returns by directing, writing, and starring in Journeyman. The movie revolves around boxer Matty Burton, the current World Champion, who is on the verge of retirement. When he is taunted and challenged by upcoming star Andre “The Future” Bryte, he gets back into the ring to prove his might in the sport. However, Matty is severely hurt and suffers from brain damage as a result of his injuries. Regressing and having to piece himself back together, his wife Emma stands by him on his road to recovery but his increasingly volatile behaviour causes further strain on their marriage.
Paddy Considine takes the lead role of Matty with Jodie Whittaker opposite him as supportive yet scared wife Emma. Journeyman is a film that relies on the mastery of both actors and, luckily, we’re in the presence of heavy-weight professionals who lean into the palpable and tense emotions, centring the film in Matty and Emma’s relationship. Whittaker and Considine are an impressive duo lead that tackle the weighted script and completely immerse you in their love, devotion, and the pain that follows with Matty’s struggle. Whittaker effervesces in her role as a Emma. She’s an actress who, with every projects, meets her character with a kinetic energy. As Emma, tackling the hardest elements of Matty’s transformation, Whittaker allows her to have humour, rather than making her completely maudlin, and that grounds the film in realism.
In his role as Matty, Considine is fiercely brilliant. He inhibits every aspect of Burton on his, well, journey and road to rehabilitation. There is vulnerability from the beginning that is crafted throughout the most difficult parts of the film. Considine’s lead role is a tricky watch as he changes in front of you through the brain damage whislt learning how to function again. There is one particular heart-breaking scene of Considine’s that, filmed in just one take, shatters your soul. With the help of Tony Pitts and Paul Popplewell as Matty’s teammates and friends, Considine flourishes in his hardest yet most assured performance to date.
The film manages to be bleak and inspirational. It is a detailed and layered look at brain damage and it’s effects. There’s a lot of research and passion poured into this film; there is a clear respect that Considine has for those tackling the same issue and this film is a testament to how he convey the grit and the hope in every story he brings to the big screen. It’s an emotional, heart-felt movie that packs the mightiest of wallops.
Journeyman is out in cinemas now.