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Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 6:00:00 AM
Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 7:47:51 AM
‘Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Professor X and Sinestro walk into a pub ....’
Welcome To The Punch where two people on opposing sides of the law battle each other through unexpected twists and turns.
FOUR men wearing black suits and gas masks smoothly pull off a daring heist. Just when they think they’re about to make a clean getaway on their (also black) motorcycles, a police detective gives chase.
The pursuit leads them to a tunnel where one of the thieves – a notorious criminal named Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) – and the cop, Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy), have a standoff. It doesn’t end well for Max but that moment definitely marks the start of a conflict between two people operating on opposites side of the law, each trying to take the other down only to go through many unexpected twists and turns, in Welcome To The Punch.
Written and directed by Eran Creevy, this crime drama shot in and around London features a charismatic supporting cast including Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, The Walking Dead’s David Morrissey, and Johnny Harris. Apparently, Creevy wanted to make a film not unlike movies he loves, like Bullit, The French Connection, Heat and Infernal Affairs, so he tried to encapsulate elements from them into this film.
In the production notes provided by GSC Movies, actor McAvoy said that Welcome To The Punch is unlike most British crime thrillers. “It looks like an action movie but it is definitely an action thriller. And often British crime films can look a bit parochial, while this is a lot more universal. There is a lot of moral (ambiguity) in it and the two characters, Jacob and Max, really take on this journey. They have such a massive journey to go on, separately and together.”
Having been humiliated by this huge failure, Max becomes obsessed with apprehending Jacob and ignoring everything else in his life. As the years pass by, the previously young and arrogant Max turns into a damaged person whom others steer clear of. Max is finally presented with a chance to redeem himself when Jacob’s son is injured, forcing the master criminal to appear in London again and within Max’s radar.
Actor Strong is no stranger to playing villains in films, he excelled in them in films like RocknRolla and Sherlock Holmes. His interest in Jacob was simply due to the character’s depth of emotion.
'Welcome To The Punch' where two people on opposing sides of the law battle each other through unexpected twists and turns.Strong explained: “You are always looking for layers as an actor, and the more complicated, the better, because I don’t believe people are all good or all evil. Everybody is made up of a lot of different strands and if you can find a character who is noble, but troubled and who hasn’t perhaps been on the right side of the law but who you can root for, that is interesting.”
As for his character’s on-screen rivalry, Strong commented: “Max is some way down a very tortured road, a man who has become obsessed with Jacob Sternwood, and yet Jacob is the opposite. Jacob is being drawn back into this struggle against his will and is no longer posturing as he had done. He is just a father looking for his son and he doesn’t want any trouble.”
Playing a third character in the film is the location itself; it was Creevy’s intention to show a different side to London so the shots presented in the film are a little unusual. For one, Creevy steered clear of the usual tourist sites like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Instead he wanted to portray a gritty London – one that has grey skies, engulfed in a depressing mood.
Strong surmised on Creevy’s vision for the film: “The film is something stylish and slick and sharp, intelligent. It is a film about London, but with the whole idea of gleaming chrome, skyscrapers, with different moods – a London that is a little cooler and slicker than what we are used to seeing on film.” – Mumtaj Begum
Welcome To The Punch opens in cinemas nationwide on Aug 29.
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