20th Nov2020

‘Jungleland’ VOD Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell, Jessica Barden | Written by Max Winkler, Theodore Bressman | Directed by Max Winkler

Being a big fan of movies like Rocky, Warrior, The Fighter and, well, any movie that centers around boxing but is way more about the heart of the characters involved, I am always quick to watch the next one that comes along. The good thing being you don’t have to wait long and every now and then a special one comes along.

Jungleland was an absolute no brainier for me for two simple reasons. The actors. Jack O’Connell is easily the most underrated British actor working today; this guy is yet to put in a bad performance, he’s not always in the best movies but usually the best thing in them. Charlie Hunnam, meanwhile, is a local North East of England lad that somehow broke into the acting game and while he has fired a couple of duds, I have always been convinced he has all the attributes of a true star and will come through. One thing both these lads are very, very good at is pulling me into their characters worlds and giving me an all to real taste of how they live…

Stanley (Hunnam) and Walter (O’Connell) Kaminski are a pair of brothers down on their luck and fighting to just barely survive. For Walter he is literally fighting, handy with his fists and able to take a pounding so he uses this ability to make ends meet. After one to many bad choices our boys are forced into taking a trip across country to an underground boxing tournament that should settle all their debts. However this is a movie so we need some drama, enter Sky (Barden) an unpredictable influence on our pair who is great at causing more trouble than she may be worth.

Before I get into performances etc., I really can’t stress enough how fantastic this story is. This film grabbed my interest with the lead cast but absolutely held my attention with this boxing movie that actually featured very limited boxing. This flick is essentially about two troubled brothers who just want to have life a little better than it is and the struggle to get there. Who can’t get on board with that? Having said all that there are some some odd plot beats that didn’t entirely land for me but these are more than made up for with some damn fine moments.

Hunnam and O’Connell are nailing it here but of the two, the latter is firing on all cylinders with his “less is more” approach. I just love an actor who can tell me a characters entire life story with literally one look. I take nothing away from Hunnam as he is acting his socks off and brings just as much raw intensity to the role with a possible career best performance (I’ll get back to you on that). Then we have Jessica Barden rounding out our core cast who I am just going to be honest and say that I haven’t really seen in anything but I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for going forward.

Jungleland is a strong recommendation from me. The cast is great and the movie looks great but far and away the star of the flick is the story, the heart and that emotional payoff right as we fade to black…

**** 4/5

Jungleland will be available to rent or buy digitally on November 30th.

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