The impression we have of Ireland is that you can pretty much belch any amount of gibberish that you’d like, as long as it’s in an Irish accent, and any people within earshot will either buy you a drink or smash your face in.
The shock and awe presented in the first half hour of Knuckle doesn’t do a whole lot to discourage that impression. Ian Palmer’s 2011 documentary of Irish Gypsy bare knuckle fighters starts off as unintentionally hilarious, but as the film plays out and finds it own groove, a certain perspective is allowed to develop.
The film centers around funny talking, oddly shaped, ruddy faced white dudes squaring off in mud puddles and behind crumbling structures. Years of verbal antagonizing captured on video, like some sort of pseudo serious trailer park pro wresting promo, are the main culprit behind the challenges. The director’s footage begins in 1997, his subjects speak of incidents of the early 1990’s, and there are implications that various families have been feuding with each other for nigh on 50 years.
A strange, grubby world is captured and put on display here. Knuckle is not a date movie, that is for certain and that is for sure. It’s also not one dimensional, Knuckle is a genuine piece of work well deserving of it’s accolades.