Shadowboxing

Forced by the powers that be-his parents-Sam returns home to find everything unhinged. Pressured by his controlling mother and confused by his father and older brother's childish behavior, Sam responds by dismantling his own life. He cheats on his girlfriend with his mother's friend and quits his new job the moment he gets it. Finally, he assumes the responsibility he had been avoiding. But is it enough?

Forced by the powers that be-his parents-Sam returns home to find everything unhinged. Pressured by his controlling mother and confused by his father and older brother's childish behavior, Sam responds by dismantling his own life. He cheats on his girlfriend with his mother's friend and quits his new job the moment he gets it. Finally, he assumes the responsibility he had been avoiding. But is it enough?

Movie Details

BIGSTAR Review

"I've never liked women enough to have two of them." ~ARTHUR ELIOT (Philip Xavier Matz), in his response to his son, Sam (Bobby Lamont), when asked if he had ever cheated on Mom (Susan Corbett).

This Canadian import made its "Great White North” debut at the 2011 Rendez-vous du Cinema Quebecois, and its U.S debut at the 2011 Lone Star International Film Festival. It's an indie film that stars Bobby Lamont (NBC’s SMASH), and it's about a guy who is summoned home by his shrink mother to sit and do therapy sessions in the family’s living room because his Dad and brother are completely nuts. Although I'm not sure why his Mom would think he could drop his life to simply move back home. The Dad, Arthur (Matz), at one point in this film says, "It’s not the foot that counts; it's what you do with it." Well, if this film was perhaps a foot, then it is just one at that, because I feel it wasn't utilized properly, plot-wise or with its characters' chemistry for that matter. You've two sons, and a set of parents who generally all look within 10 years of each other’s ages. Also, I can barely understand why these four characters would even remotely care for one another. They're just mean for the sake of being mean. In one scene, there's almost like a round-robin shout-out of each family member's latest life failures. By the time they get to brother Alex (Danny Coleman), he proclaims, "I can't even f*** up the best." And that's what I felt writer/director Jesse Klein fell short with; this felt like a gathering of four extremely unhealthy strangers outperforming each other purposefully in realms of varying disappointment and who should NOT be in a close proximity of one another, not family who eventually drifted and BECAME strangers... and there is a difference. There's also an affair Sam has with his Mom's friend, that has no established basis. It's just there to accept. This is a movie where you can honestly feel the director was drawing inspiration from films like THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and GARDEN STATE, and then just left it like that, in hopes the context and sub-context would sort themselves out.

There are moments of subtle irony I found enjoyable. Sam's documentary/art piece A LIFE LIKE ANY OTHER being screened on April Fools’ Day had a certain je ne sais quoi. Also, the pathetic table scene at the High School Reunion made you feel for all twentysomethings in that town! Perhaps all the other families were just as dementedly dysfunctional as the Eliots. Certain relationships with more exploration would have been better suited to the film's story, like Arthur's parents, who are not utilized to their fullest, I feel. But I've a feeling that a young director like Klein might be a growing name in Canada's film fest rounds, so SHADOWBOXING, with all its faults, truly shows some promise.

-Steve

Ratings

  • Cinematography & Editing
  • Musical Score & Sound
  • Stories & Script
  • Acting
  • Directing
72
Overall BIGSTAR Score.
Scores range from 10-100
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