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TIFF 2019 Review: Knuckle City – “An entertaining affair that goes a couple of rounds too many”

An ageing South African boxer attempts to provide for his family with one final fight; however, the odds might not be in his favour because of certain criminal elements running the corrupt sport.

Boxing had always been part of the life of brothers Dudu and Duke as their philandering father founded a gym; his murder haunts the two siblings with the former choosing to become a boxer and the later a career criminal.  An opportunity to reclaim the gym that once belonged to the family arises but there are fatal consequences if it does not succeed.

One cannot deny that filmmaker Jahmil T.X. Qubeka has a visual flair with the camera; whether it be a long tracking shot of a young boy riding a bicycle or aerial overhead shots; his partnership with cinematographer Willie Nel is very stylish and kinetic which helps with the fight sequences.  However, one can have too much of a good thing as there are a few cases that style triumphs over substance as scenes play on longer than they should.  There is a playfulness to the music soundtrack that prevents the dark subject matter from becoming overwhelming.  Overall, an entertaining affair that goes a couple of rounds too many.

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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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