A film that packs a punch – both literally and figuratively – Jungleland is the bare-knuckle boxing drama sharing an honest and moving tale of desperation, passion and hope. It encapsulates the American struggle in its rawest form, a reality that is difficult to swallow, but necessary to understand.
Starring Sons of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam, Jack O'Connell and Jessica Barden, Jungleland explores the relationship between two brothers, Stanley (Hunnam) and Walter 'Lion' (O'Connell), living on the poverty line. Squatting in an abandoned house and earning barely enough to eat working at a sewing factory in Fall River, the pair rely on Lion's bare-knuckle boxing talents to make ends meet. While ex-criminal Stanley never fights in the ring himself, his investment lies in training his younger brother – acting as his coach, his corner man, manager and de-facto father.
Although it may seem as though he has his brother's best interests at heart, Stanley barely hesitates to sell Lion out, when hopes of escaping their circumstances lie in the hands of cross-country boxing match. Tasked with transporting a young girl named Sky (Barden), to a well-known crime boss on their way to the infamous 'Jungleland' fight, the cracks in the brother's relationship are increasingly exposed, as Lion becomes aware of his older siblings' malicious and selfish tendencies.
Watch the Jungleland trailer below.
The film's authentic and empathetic performances are complimented by Max Winkler's extraordinary directional style, which immerses you in the dire yet dreamy world of two brother's fighting for their own understanding of freedom. Paired with unparalleled cinematography by Damián García, Jungleland is a concoction of strikingly accurate, naturalist imagery – transporting you to existing locations in the white-collar community of Fall River, Massachusetts, Reno, Nevada, and eventually San Francisco.
Every scene in Jungleland is purposeful; a sentiment that is confirmed by Winkler during an interview, where he shared "Each fight scene had its own theme. Never were we like, 'How do we make this scene look cool?' It was always how do we move the character to this next place."
Although the film was originally slanted for the big screen, it's now found a home on Amazon Prime – but is not yet available to stream here in Australia. Keep an eye out for when you'll be able to catch the dynamic and moving Jungleland.