The director of this film, Shuji Terayama, was an avid boxing enthusiast who even declared that he had learned more about life through boxing than attending school. That philosophy is impregnated during the whole film, a story of lowlives trying to survive in the suburbs of an industrial city full of losers that their only destiny is to die being losers.
A pessimistic, darker, and probably more realistic vision of the boxing world than most movies of the genre,that tells the story of an old glory of boxing played by the legendary Bunta Sugawara, who becomes the coach of the man who accidentaly killed his brother in a construction site, in order to make him pay his debt with him and more importantly achieve again boxing glory, but this time as a coach. Here there’s no fanfares or inspirational heroes, just two hopeless losers that need each other to build a dream that they can believe.
The narrative of the story is pure neorealism, and that can also be seeing in the fighting sequences that looks improvised, as if the boxers were sparring at full power without a choreography. Terayama also adds to the montage, archive boxing footage of some Japanese boxing legends as Fighting Harada among many others, whom even made brief cameos. However and although all its rudimentary setting, there are some beautiful shots that reminds that Terayama was a crafty director of arty movies.
BOXER is highly recommendable journey to the darkest suburbs of boxing and human soul.