7 January 2006 | philip-1
Fighting Tommy Riley is simply one of the best Indie films I've seen. It had me glued to the screen within ten minutes. J.P. Davis is a multi-talented man. In addition to playing the title character, he wrote the screenplay and produced the movie as well. And he can act! On the surface he looks like an underwear model, like so many up and coming 20's actors, but this guy has a complete emotional vocabulary. Mainstream Hollywood should be at his doorstep. He completely inhabits Tommy Riley in a way that very few actors with the right "look" could ever hope to achieve. Casting veteran actor Eddie Jones was a coup. Jones meets Davis's intensity on every level and the two of them create a complicated and wonderful rapport. Jones, in fact, is heart breaking; a character that so often slumps into empty sentimentality is rendered with honest reality.
The film is directed superbly. The story is told clearly and directly. The gay subtext of trainer lusting after fighter is handled frankly, sincerely and with a bittersweet truth. It exposes a sad case in our society, straight or gay, that older people are denied physical love at every level.
This is a far more engrossing film than Hollywood hype favorites Cinderella Man and Million Dollar Baby. Director O'Flaherty has more talent in his pinkie than does Ron Howard and Clint Eastwood in their collective big buck bodies.