Knuckle (2011)

James Quinn McDonagh, Paddy Quinn McDonagh, Michael Quinn McDonagh, Ian Palmer,
An epic 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting. This film follows a history of violent feuding between rival clans.
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Director:
  • Teddy Leifer, Producer:

All subtitles:

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10 / 10

There's nothing raw about this

Several comment reviews say that this is raw, far from it. Well mounted, multi sided (no affiliation) and a fabulous close insight on how fists are chosen in stead of guns. It's the work of a decade of filming reduced into a hour and a half. This is a DOCUMENTARY with capital letters. And honestly, its a remarkable portrait of not only boxing fights but also of one of the most intriguing sectors of the UK population-. Of course if you are a fan of someone always telling you their opinion and how you must face the present situation, then this isn't for you... And the only thing raw in this is the felling of real life's being documented.

6 / 10

Interesting but indecipherable watch

It was an interesting documentary. The accents were so thick and completely impenetrable. Apart from the fights themselves I didn't have a clue what was being said. At times it did feel like it was on craggy island.

8 / 10


Interesting documentary about a supposedly ongoing feud between families who duke it out and document the results which only serve to fuel further fights.

The fights make not insubstantial amounts of money which leads me to suspect the feud is just a cover for what looks like a nice little underground fighting business.

And I'm not saying the feuds are not real...I'm saying the feuds are intentionally provoked and prolonged for as long as they are making money.

9 / 10

A raw in depth documentary not to be missed

A great film that i will watch again and again, the low rating is just not justified, this is pure adrenaline and compassion at the same time. A raw in depth documentary not to be missed, a look into the normally very private lives of the Irish travellers. This isn't just fight after fight it shows why and how the family's solve there feuds. some of the footage is a bit sketchy but takes nothing away from the film if any thing adds to the gritty compelling nature of this feature. Although i would say this isn't for the feint hearted and contains some very brutal real life bare knuckle fights, this is still a very good film that every one should see.

8 / 10

A gritty look into an ugly yet fascinating world

Ian Palmer's fascinating look into the oft hidden world of traveling Irish gypsies and there subsequent bare knuckle boxing is a raw unflinching documentary that while not offering any concrete answers as to why these things happen it's still a must see account of some wholly original real life characters and lifestyles.

Make no doubt about you will need to have subtitles on for Knuckle for it features a set of Irish men whose accent is so thick you would be hard pressed to understand a single sentence. The focus of Knuckle and these men is on James McDonagh a man who has never lost a fight and amongst his fellow kin is likened to some sort of Irish boxing God. James is a bewildering character but an ever watchable one, witness as he proclaims his fighting days are over only to again return to the arena to uphold is families name once more. Capturing James and his family over twelve years is director Palmer who deserves much credit for his work here.

Palmer's direction is not professional in any stretch of the imagination but what it is true to the subject and his ability to have an unflinching eye on proceedings of these family feuds should be commended. With Palmer's hand behind camera the film never feels like it is taking a side in the story or pointing fingers at anyone whether they seem right or wrong, it's a bold directional decision yet allows the film to play out in non-intrusive way.

Knuckle is a gritty violent film that some will find truly repulsive, Knuckle is also a must see for what happens in this story is real, the people are real and the emotions are real. If someone were to make a movie of this story it would seem unrealistic yet here we have an unquestionably honest look at a world that many would prefer not to acknowledge, put it this way if you thought Brad Pitt was the quintessential gypsy boxer you ain't seen nothing yet.

4 swollen knuckles out of 5

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