"Generous City" - one of the best boxing movies that will captivate you

"Generous City" - one of the best boxing movies that will captivate you

The commitment to the topic and adherence to the ideas from the book make the product more than quality

Boxing and cinema go very well hand in hand. They fit so well that we can safely say that the best cinema productions for sports are related to boxing. Most often, films about this sport are related to a person's inner struggle with his demons, his past, his plight, and in the situation where he is faced with a fight against an opponent who is most likely favored, or simply prevents the realization of dreams of the main character.

Of course, this often diverges from the reality of boxing, where there are no good and bad heroes, no victory of good over evil, and no eternal happy ending. Still, movies like Rocky remain one of the true classics when it comes to sports movies in general. The unscrupulousness, the hardness, the seriousness of the battles can hardly be expressed on the screen better than this film and one more. It is about "Generous City", or in English "Fat City", which is a screen adaptation of Leonard Gardner's novel of the same name. The movie came out three years after the book was written in 1972 and was directed by John Huston. It tells the story of a boxer who has lost everything he has. Many critics consider this production to be the best of Huston's career.

The director is a former amateur boxer who manages to perfectly understand the first steps that must be taken in the dangerous profession. Billy Tully, played by Stacey Keach, is a 29-year-old racer who has lost the biggest fight of his career, then his wife, most of his money, and almost to the point of alcoholism. However, after a certain period, he is considering returning to the ring.

Tully meets a young talented teenager who convinces him to re-sign with his old manager. However, this does not lead to improvement for the quitter, quite the opposite. The downward spiral continues as Tully begins to live off the back of her agent.

The situation we see in the film is typical of a broken man in the United States. The apartment buildings, the bars and absolutely everything suggests failure, but also a spark of hope, coming from the illusion of possible new successes. Huston manages to focus on the loneliness of the survivor and emphasize this message, which we also find in Gardner's book. Tully is a man who cannot have an effective relationship or manage his life. He lives in a fantasy world that is full of false illusions. Keech's performance is very well complimented by the role of Susan Tyrall, who is his drinking partner.

Kris Kristofferson's song "Help Me Make it Through the Night" is used as a musical counterpoint to the drama, which ends on a note of hope. The boxer manages to gather his strength, recover to the point that allows him to return to the ring and triumph. But even then, Huston subverts the triumph by showing us not only that the character is so exhausted that he needs to be told he's won, but that the loser could become the next Billy Tully. Besides, the fight is only the first step towards a full recovery.

The accuracy of the world created by Huston is extremely impressive, as we can also tell the director's sympathy for his motley characters. At no point does he try to overwhelm us with picturesque showmanship, or charm us or entertain the audience. Not for a moment does he deviate from the original idea, but there is a clearly marked commitment to the subject and a strict adherence to the story and messages of Leonard Gardner's book.

Generous City is a sports movie that is definitely worth watching. Yes, you won't find in it a recreation of great sports clashes, but the overall story, acting and especially the direction are of an extremely high level.