Poor Boy’s Game
Winter 2008 Main series
Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 7:00pm
Monday, February 18, 2008 at 7:00pm
Directed by Clément Virgo
Screenplay by Chaz Thorne and Clément Virgo
Starring Rossif Sutherland, Flex Alexander, Danny Glover, Laura Regan, K.C. Collins, and Greg Bryk
Rated 14A ·
Poor Boy’s Game is director Clement Virgo’s searing sixth feature. The opening scene introduces us to Donnie “Decker” Rose (Rossif Sutherland, ER), a tough kid from Halifax, as he confesses to the horrific beating of Charlie (K.C. Collins, Owning Mahoney), a black teenager who has been left permanently disabled. Donnie serves his time and learns to box while inside; his release is cause for celebration among his family and friends. But in Halifax’s prominent African-Canadian community, his freedom is met with cries for revenge.
Ossie (Flex Alexander, Snakes on a Plane), a local boy turned flamboyant boxing champion, answers the call and challenges Donnie to settle the score in the ring. The community rallies around the proposed match, but Charlie’s emotionally wounded father, George (Danny Glover, The Royal Tenenbaums) can’t bring himself to support any more violence. He turns away from Ossie, his protege, and trains Donnie for the ring instead – a decision that threatens to divide the community and Charlie’s own family. Meanwhile, Donnie is forced to face his demons, both those in the ring and those within his own home. As the fight nears, the racial divide in the community widens into a canyon and more blood is spilled in the search for an illusory justice.
Working with a tense script co-written with Chaz Thorne, Virgo coaxes superb performances from his cast. Glover is particularly riveting as he delivers one of his finest performances to date, acutely capturing the tortured soul of a father struggling to reconcile his need for justice with his desire to protect his family. His scenes with Sutherland provide the emotional and dramatic centre of this moving drama.
With unflinching honesty, Poor Boy’s Game confronts the unspoken racial tension that underlies much of our society. Violent and emotionally stirring, the film uses boxing not simply as a metaphor for life but also as a compelling analogy for the struggle of communities to understand and live with one another. It forcefully argues that revenge results only in loss, while forgiveness is the path to victory.