If we hadn't already seen "The Boxer," a much better movie that was also released this year and which featured a startlingly similar subplot, the drama "TwentyFourSeven" might seem a whole lot fresher.
Still, the film already has its share of obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is the fact that there are too many characters. Consequently, with the exception of its protagonist, Allan Darcy (Bob Hoskins), none of them really stands out. (Curiously enough, that's the way the performances pan out as well.)
Of course, the brief glimpses into the lives of the supporting cast show that the majority of the characters are basically unlikable, so maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.
It should be noted that the dialogue is so peppered with profanities and is delivered in such thick British accents that the film seems like it should include subtitles that is, if audience members care enough to know what the characters are saying.
The story is told as a series of flashbacks, beginning immediately after one of Darcy's "pupils" discovers him living as a hermit in a deserted rail car.
Though he's basically a small-time hustler, Darcy feels obligated to give something back to the community, so he starts up a boxing club for the at-risk neighborhood youths as a way for them to settle their differences more "peacefully."
To just about everyone's surprise (including Darcy's), it's a success, and he begins turning around the lives of the young boxers and his own to boot. But the club faces some serious challenges, including the abusive father of one of the teens and serious drug abuse by another.
Co-writer and director Shane Meadows, a documentarian making his feature filmmaking debut, wisely chose to shoot things in black and white, which lends itself nicely to the flashback nature of the story. If only he would have paid attention to pacing as well, because the film is frantic at one moment, then deadly dull the next.
And frankly, Darcy's own tale (especially the parts with his aunt and his clumsy attempts to woo a local shopkeeper) are far more interesting than the main storyline, probably because Hoskins' performances are so much more dynamic than that of any of the other actors.
"TwentyFourSeven" is rated R for considerable profanity, violent fist fighting and a brutal attack, vulgar gags and sex talk, drug use and brief partial male nudity.