About – A former youth boxing champion Jimmy McCabe (Johnny Harris) is rock bottom after his mother’s passing. He returns to his childhood boxing club.
Jawbone is a debut feature for Thomas Napper, director. Thomas has done a superb job on his debut, grabbing himself a nomination at the BAFTA’s for ‘outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer’. Thomas Napper is quite well-known across the film community. He’s well-known for being second unit director/assistant director for Into the Woods (2014), Beauty and the Beast (2017) and most recently Darkest Hour (2018). Thomas’ debut feature, is a brilliant portrayal of realism within the suburbs of London, capturing the deepest and saddest topics.
This isn’t just another sport/boxing film. The topics that Jawbone raises and explores are the hard-hitting truth of today. They’re major subjects that need resolving and sport/boxing can help people through these difficult times. The themes that Jawbone raises are homelessness, alcoholism and depression. Homelessness and alcoholism are the most obvious within the film. However, depression is in the background that isn’t talked about. This topic can be seen through the loss of Jimmy’s mother. He handles it through alcohol, which eventually takes him into homelessness, plus the eviction from the council.
The narrative follows Jimmy McCabe who returns to his childhood boxing club to fix-up his life again after his mother’s passing. He trains and without William Carney (Ray Winstone) knowing he sleeps at the club too. William is the owner of the club with help from his friend Eddie (Michael Smiley) at his ring side to keep the lads focused. Jimmy meets up with Joe Padgett (Ian McShane) to organise an illegal boxing match to earn himself a few thousand pounds, without William or Eddie finding out.
There is no true excitement in the first, thirty to forty minutes. It’s a slow burner for the first duration of the film, in which were following Jimmy around the back streets of London, drinking and looking round corners. There’s a lot of silence and waiting around for the next scene. However, when the last act finally arrives the excitement and the consistency of that feeling of wanting more appears. The action arrives, and everything is raised above all expectation. This last act is worth waiting around for.
Jawbone has very touchy subjects and they’re addressed throughout. Through boxing, these subjects can be tamed but also be expressed. Thomas has done a good job at portraying this, grabbing a BAFTA nomination. It’s a slow burner that just needs its audience to have patience until the last act.