Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father) directed this drama about a Belfast boxer, filmed with Dublin locations substituting for Belfast. Released after his 14-year prison sentence for IRA activities, 32-year-old Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) returns to his old neighborhood and sees former-flame Maggie (Emily Watson), who has an unhappy marriage and now raises her son alone while her husband is in prison. To get back in the boxing ring, Danny gets the community-center gym back in operation and starts training, encountering opposition from militant IRA members, including Harry (Gerald McSorley). Danny and Maggie grow closer, but after a bomb sets off events leading to the destruction of the gym, Danny leaves for a disastrous boxing match in London. More grim situations arise when he returns to Belfast. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
A must see for fans of Daniel Day Lewis. Knowing a bit of the background of "The Troubles" will help in the understanding the underlying themes but the plot stands on it's own. The countries of Ireland (Republic of and Northern) have come a long way since these days and this film highlights some of the early efforts to bridge the Catholic -Protestant divide. Highly recommended.
I don't know when the story was written or when the filming began, but the copyright is '97, one year before the Good Friday Agreement. The backdrop of this film is the conflict between those in the IRA who want to achieve peace and move forward into true democracy and equality, and those who want to continue fighting indefinitely... very similar to what really happened a year later. Again, the team of Sheridan and Day-Lewis has done some brilliant work, and it's almost impossible not to fall in love with Emily Watson, or to admire and sympathise with Brian Cox.