VonBergundy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Really solid, well-made all around effort from Robert Wise. Super clean direction and cinematography in a tightly packaged 70 minute runtime. Great performances, with Robert Ryan playing the aging underdog- Stoker- and Audrey Trotter going full Jeanne Moreau with her meloncholic strolls through the town and endlessly watchable presence on the screen as Julie. The boxing scene is long, arduous, and felt just as brutal as watching a real-life boxing match.
The movie questions the idea of fighting for sport and entertainment quite sharply. The film snipes at the sport/industry itself in its corruption and exploitative nature, but it also points at the audience who revels in watching two men rattle their brains around and come to a couple rounds from death. The film also takes a look at the psychology of a fighter. Little to no reward for the price of your health, stability, and possibly even your life. It takes a certain type of person to continue throwing themselves into the ring with all the odds against them every time, all in search of the one punch that can change it all. But, in this industry, even the sweetest of victories can bring the most bittersweet defeats.