I’m not certain Jungleland is a sports movie, though it does take place in the world of underground bare-knuckle boxing. The story ultimately depends on the outcome of a sporting event, however. So it probably fits into that category.
Regardless, you might not guess that this was directed by Max Winkler, who’s mostly known for comedy work on TV shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
I reviewed the movie for Asheville’s Mountain Xpress:
Jungleland follows brothers Stan (Charlie Hunnam, FX‘s “Sons of Anarchy”) and Walter “Lion” Kaminski (Jack O’Connell, Unbroken) as they pursue success in the underground world of bare-knuckle boxing. Lion was a promising Golden Gloves fighter, but any hopes of a professional career were ruined when Stan tried to bribe a referee.
When it seems their situation can’t get any dirtier or worse, the Kaminski brothers get pushed deeper into the grime with fewer options to escape. However, this isn’t entirely a plot-driven story. All the characters are using one another for their own means, whether they realize it or not, giving the talented cast plenty of complex material to play with.
As I said in that review, this is most certainly not a feel-good movie. Maybe not the ideal viewing after Election Day. Jungleland takes you deep into the muck and pushes your face into it. But even if it doesn’t make you feel good, the performances are worth your time.
Please read the full review at Mountain Xpress.