Welcome to the Punch
Directed by Evan Creevy
Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, David Morrissey, Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, Johnny Harris, Daniel Mays
Grade: B –
“Welcome to the Punch” emerges as a smart British crime thriller, in spite of its heavy reliance upon an opening sequence the filmmakers don't seem to have the budget to pull off. The sketchy attempts to provide a backstory for James McAvoy's dejected police officer never really convince, despite how many times the film seems to hammer this point home, or how dishevelled the actor's gristly facial hair makes him. And still, what the film lacks in character building it gains through a winning cast, who treat the solid plot mechanics with the respect they deserve, alluding to a vast network of criminality beyond what we can essentially see. The text may be better served in a TV series format, in which BBC's investigative crime drama “State of Play,” thrived, but 'Punch' holds its own in this arena, the actions of its characters founded on rational motivations of crime rather than the mafia-style dynamics we see in many mediocre British works of this style.