Ian Palmer's Knuckle is an exhaustive study of a 12-year feud in the Irish Traveller community. As a way to settle their differences, the feuding families partake in secretive bare-knuckle fighting that's as brutal as it's exhilarating for the winners. The story of Knuckle centers around two brothers from the McQuinn Mcdongh family who fight for their reputation and family name against the Joyce clan. To no surprise, Knuckle is a film that is brooding with machoism but where it excels most is its abilitiy to capture the brief moments of fear and enlightenment that strikes these men. James, a man whose never lost a fight in the Joyce-McDonagh feud, doesn't even have any true desire to keep fighting, often being roped into another fight in order to represent his family's name. James is a man who knows the risk of fighting, understanding how vapid these fights are, and there are brief moments of levity from James whose become a legend among the Irish Traveller community. This mob mentality, fueled by pride, is what forces James back into the ring, often having to accept another fight simply because of the trash talk of these individuals. While most of the film is spent with the McDonagh brothers, Knuckle does spend the time to capture the perspective of both families, as Ian Palmer tries desperately to grasp why this feud continues. Knuckle shows how these fights are part of a never-ending cycle, almost a right of passage for young men to stand in the ring and represent their family against the feuding clan.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.