(Published on Lost In The Multiplex and in the April edition of Sage)
Written and directed by Eran Creevy, Welcome To The Punch is a British thriller that follows detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) who, along with his partner Sarah (Andrea Riseborough) and scarred by his failure to bring down his nemeses, is given one last chance to catch the man he’s always been after, as ex-criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) is forced to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong. As they face off, they start to uncover a larger conspiracy at work, one that they both need to solve in order to survive.
Welcome To The Punch is a confident and stylish British action thriller that, whilst it looks quite average from the outskirts, is a refreshing cinematic experience. With all too much of the same being released lately, it makes a nice change to see some of Britain’s talent coming together to give us something a little different. It may be all guns shooting and cars swerving, but this police thriller is a breath of fresh air to its genre.
Full of energy, Welcome To The Punch is brilliantly paced. With an excellent opening sequence, the most noticeable quality straight away is its stunning visual style. Set in London and full of big lights and cityscapes, the setting and set pieces make the films dynamic action sequences even more riveting. Reminding me in part of some of Scorsese’s work, this look compliments its genre perfectly.
From writer/director Creevy, who gave us the 2008 thriller Shifty, the one noticeable flaw of Welcome To The Punch is that the plot gets a little muddled when all of the twists come into play, although it does all get broken down for you near the end if you never quite got the hang of who was on who’s side.
What Welcome To The Punch benefits most from, though, is its fantastic British cast. James McAvoy, Mark Strong, and Peter Mullan are all fantastic, and they come together brilliant with one scene, especially, that includes all three actors really standing out. Even Andrea Riseborough makes her place as a strong female lead in this action. Her relationship with McAvoy’s character isn’t well explored, but to have gone any further would have taken the film in a wrong turn.
Welcome To The Punch may not make its way on to your Top 20 list at the end of the year, but it’s definitely a film that you should watch.
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I really wanted to see this when it was out. Such a big McAvoy fan. It’s also nice to hear the film is a little bit different. It looked like a standard thriller type in the trailers. Great review 🙂