Knuckle

The documentary Knuckle is the real-life combination of Fight Club and The Trailer Park Boys. Every person in the movie is straight out of the Irish gypsy scenes from Snatch.

It’s about two feuding families of Irish Travelers, a community of people who predominantly reside in Ireland and the United Kingdom. They’re the nonfiction version of Brad Pitt in Snatch. Their speech is difficult to understand, to the point where the filmmaker often had to use subtitles. The two families, the Joyce’s and Quinn’s, have had a decades-long feud and every few months take to the street for bare knuckle boxing matches.

The movie focuses primarily on the men and these guys are not what you’d expect to see when you picture boxers. They’re not cut boxers with stomachs from six-packs, not six-pack abs. But they’re tough and strong. Big guys who really seem to hate the people in the rival family. Oh, and the families are related to each other.

The start of the feud is discussed even if it’s never really at length. I don’t want to give it away, but the initial disagreement doesn’t seem to be the reason the men of all ages bloody each other. They just seem to want to. For basically being a street brawl, the fights do seem to have a little bit of organization. There are rules (no biting or kicking) and they usually go on for about 20 minutes.

It’s not easy to watch. There’s a lot of blood, missing teeth, and a lot of direct punches. There’s more than that, though, an underlying sadness throughout this movie. We never get to know the combatants too well, but they seem to have very sad lives. The men who’ve fought each other time and time again thrive on fighting and never have gotten past the adrenaline to live their life. Several times throughout the movie guys from each family claim that the upcoming fight will be the last. No matter the result they claim the feud will be settled, it never is.

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