Cardboard Boxer | Thomas Haden Church is down and out (for the count)

Cardboard Boxer Thomas Haden Church
(Image credit: © 2015 Cardboard Productions, L)

Cardboard Boxer Thomas Haden Church

Best known for his Oscar-nominated supporting role in 2004’s Sideways, Thomas Haden Church delivers a haunting performance in the indie drama Cardboard Boxer as a homeless man scuffling to live day to day on the streets of Los Angeles.

Slow speaking and a little simple-minded, Church’s heartbreakingly lonely Willie gets cajoled by a loathsome preppy (Rhys Wakefield) into fighting other bums for $50 a bout but finds a fragile solace in his friendship with legless Iraq War veteran Pinky (Boyd Holbrook) and in his imaginary correspondence with an unknown young girl whose castoff fire-damaged diary he has found.

Things get a tad mawkish and contrived towards the end, but Church’s sad, battered dignity holds the film together.

Certificate 15. Runtime 85 mins. Director Knate Lee

Cardboard Boxer debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on 29 January. Available on DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.