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Telling the real-life story of New Jersey pugilist Chuck Wepner, the apparent inspiration for Rocky, Falardeau’s film Chuck deftly exploits Liev Schreiber’s balance of brutality and pathos.
Telling the real-life story of New Jersey pugilist Chuck Wepner, the apparent inspiration for Rocky, Falardeau’s film Chuck deftly exploits Liev Schreiber’s balance of brutality and pathos.

Review: Liev Schreiber at the height of his game in moving biopic Chuck Add to ...

  • Directed by Philippe Falardeau
  • Written by Jeff Feuerzeig, Jerry Stahl, Michael Cristofer and Liev Schreiber
  • Starring Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman and Naomi Watts
  • Classification 14A
  • Genre biopic
  • Year 2016
  • Country USA
  • Language English

Although he began his career playing cerebral know-it-alls, Liev Schreiber has somehow cornered the market on rough-and-wild bruisers. With his Goon films, his role on Showtime’s Ray Donovan, and now the boxing drama Chuck, the 49-year-old nails the low-life archetype: the solitary brawler, the loser, the man who lives to throw, and receive, punches. (Not that Schreiber can’t elevate himself when the project calls for it, as evidenced by the Oscar-winning Spotlight.) It’s a shame, then, that few will get the chance to witness the actor at the height of his bloodied-and-bruised game in Chuck (a.k.a. The Bleeder, as it was known on the festival circuit), since the film is getting a barely-there theatrical release in English Canada (despite the pedigree of Quebecois director Philippe Falardeau). Telling the real-life story of New Jersey pugilist Chuck Wepner, the apparent inspiration for Rocky, Falardeau’s film is a moving, if not earth-shattering, biopic that deftly exploits Schreiber’s balance of brutality and pathos. It may not go the distance, but it’s surely worth a step into the ring.

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