Review of Documentary ‘Knuckle’

Lilly Lazare-Greene / August 21, 2012 - 10:34pm

What ever you think you know about bare knuckle boxing, think again.

Knuckle is a documentary shot over 12 years about the underground world of bare knuckle boxing within the Irish traveler world.  If you’ve seen the movie “Snatch” then you’ll have an idea of what to expect.  Dirty, scary looking, hardcore fighters that need subtitles to understand what they’re saying, even though they’re speaking some sort of english. This film follows three clans that have been feuding for decades.  The Quinn McDonagh’s, the Joyce’s and the McGinley’s. 

The only way that they can solve anything is to resort to violence and that’s why they fight each other more often than most fight promotions put on an event.

Cousin versus cousin and brother versus brother.

The film begins at a wedding within one of the clans, the Quinn McDonagh’s.  When I say within, I mean within.  Cousins were getting married.  Your ears do a double take when you hear that right off the bat, but you regroup and get prepared for what you’re about to watch.  Perhaps that’s why the families seem a little off, and none of them have any fear.  The fear gene must have been out bread somewhere along the line and mutated into the angry fighting gene.

Fights are organized by one clan sending a video to the other in order to get their panties in a bunch, which is nothing short of old wrestling promos by Hulk Hogan or Randy “Macho Man” Savage but are a very close second to the worst of Rowdy Roddy Piper, all over the place and hard to understand.  Then boom, you have a fight.  They each pick their best man and they meet on a gravel road somewhere on the Irish country side.  Believe it or not there are referees, from neutral families of course, and the most important thing of all, no family members of the fighters are allowed to avoid a huge rumble in the sticks.  Then, surrounded by a small crowd of spectators and sometimes holding up country road traffic, they fight.  They fight for money.  Lots of money.  They fight until someone gives up, is knocked out or worse and when you put two angry, possibly imbread men that despise one another in a bare knuckle boxing bout, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.  Brutal, bloody and gorey.  It’s as real as you could possibly imagine.

Loyalty runs very deep within this community, so deep that kids who weren’t even alive when this whole fiasco started hold grudges.  And even though they talk about wanting to stop,  it seems as long as they keep breeding they’ll keep fighting, bringing a whole new meaning to keeping it in the family.