Best known for his Oscar-nominated supporting role in 2004’s Sideways, Thomas Haden Church delivers a haunting performance in the indie drama Cardboard Boxer as a homeless man scuffling to live day to day on the streets of Los Angeles.
Slow speaking and a little simple-minded, Church’s heartbreakingly lonely Willie gets cajoled by a loathsome preppy (Rhys Wakefield) into fighting other bums for $50 a bout but finds a fragile solace in his friendship with legless Iraq War veteran Pinky (Boyd Holbrook) and in his imaginary correspondence with an unknown young girl whose castoff fire-damaged diary he has found.
Things get a tad mawkish and contrived towards the end, but Church’s sad, battered dignity holds the film together.
Certificate 15. Runtime 85 mins. Director Knate Lee
Cardboard Boxer debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on 29 January. Available on DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.