Prizefighter: The Life of Jem Belcher (2022) Movie Script

[crowd clamouring, cheering]
[thumping in distance]
[Jem groans, pants]
[Pearce grunting]
[bell dings]
Time. Time, time.
[pants, slurps]
[breathes heavily]
Oi, oi.
[gasps, grunts]
Look at me. Look at me.
- You all right?
- [pants] Yeah.
[crowd cheering]
[pants, grunts]
[groans, grunts]
[Jack exhales deeply]
[crowd clamouring]
[fighters groans, grunts]
Ain't no place for you, boy.
That's my grandpa!
- [Ben groans]
- [grunts]
[Ben groaning]
Jack Slack's blood, eh?
- [grunts]
- [groans]
Got him, eh? He's a fart.
Throw him up there, lads.
[Ben groaning]
[Jack grunting]
Come on! Look at that.
[grunts, pants]
I see
you've had some experience.
- [groans]
- [grunts]
[crowd whistling, cheering]
Oh! He's a tough un.
- [grunts]
Come on!
Here's a hard un.
[Jack grunts]
Aint ya? Aint ya?
- [groans]
- [cheers]
[crowd cheers, whistles]
[exhales deeply]
Not much to count for.
Carriages were stopped
on their way in again.
[birds chirping]
Put your hand out, boy.
[coins clanking]
PEARCE: Handsome
lad. Bit skinny, though.
He's a runt.
[exhales deeply]
Just like his father was.
Oh, Joe. That's
what I was waiting for.
[horses neighs]
- Whatd I tell you?
- But, Ma!
MARY: Hold your
tongue! Get home.
He likes watching his
granddad fight, Mary.
Like you did when
you was his age.
That's in the past.
He ain't got it in him
to do what you did.
He's just a boy.
Give him time.
I told you...
I don't want him in your world.
You stay away from him.
He's a Belcher, Mary.
You, me, Jem...
we're all cut from
the same cloth.
You leave him alone.
[breathes deeply]
Bless us...
Oh, Lord...
for the gift of food we
are about to receive.
We come to You...
for strength...
knowing that You
are our provider.
What's the matter, Gilly?
Have mine, pet.
It's all we got.
[crowd clamouring]
Come on. Place your bets.
Come on. Place your bets.
Place your bets.
[crowd clamouring]
BOOKIE: [speaks indistinctly]
What are you doing here?
I wanted to see the chickens.
I'll put that on Lancelot.
I've got a big oner on Lancelot.
Who can match him? Come on.
When we win...
I'll give you the dead
bird to take home.
[imitates chicken]
[Jack chuckling]
[crowd cheers]
Come on!
Come on, Lancelot.
[rooster clucks]
JACK: Get him!
Come on, Lancelot!
[roosters clucking]
Come on now!
Come on now!
BOOKIE: Hotspur is the winner!
Hotspur is the winner.
I know you fixed that fight.
I want my money back.
A bet's a bet, Jack.
I want my money back.
You know the rules, mate.
Why don't you double
up on the next one?
I've got my eyes on you.
Maybe you should keep
your eyes on the boy.
- Oi!
- [Jack chuckling]
Come back here, you little runt!
MARY: I told you not to
take anything from him, Jem.
Come here.
You don't want
blood on your hands.
[indistinct chatter]
MARY: Dad.
What you doin here?
I need to talk with you.
Right. Sit.
Come on. Sit.
Have a swig with your old man.
I came to talk about Jem.
He needs...
He don't need no lessons in...
pain from you.
I'm not doing him any harm.
He needs...
a father.
He needs...
someone he can look up to.
You need to tell him
to stop coming here.
No, he needs a man...
to teach him about
discipline and the like.
He ain't gonna
learn that from you.
I paid for the
clothes on your back.
And I paid for the
cross around your neck.
I have worked
every day of my life.
And you drink it all away.
Don't you?
What do you want me
to say to the boy, Mary?
He's your son.
Just stay away is all.
Don't encourage him.
If you tell him to stay
away, he'll stay away.
Please, Dad.
[horses neighing]
Oi, Belcher!
What a pretty outfit
you've got there, Belcher.
Off to the docks, are we?
Look at him. Little molly.
And what's this, Belcher? Hmm?
Something for your
ma's cupboard?
We all know she's a
favourite with the sailors.
[Cully chuckles]
Go on, say something.
I dare you.
- Your teeth stink like shit.
- Plant him one, Archey.
- Yeah, mate. Come on, now.
- Ooh. Look at him.
He thinks he can
fight like his grandad.
He weren't even good.
You're dead, Belcher!
Go on, get you going,
or I'll pay a visit to
each of your fathers.
Stand you up straight, boy.
Violence is as much about
taking pain as it is inflicting it.
Does your mother
know you're here?
Ain't much she don't know.
When you fight...
one hand follows the other.
A man who punches
with both hands...
and keeps punching...
that's the fighter
who's gonna win.
it's ain't gonna help.
In life...
don't no one give
two shits about you.
The only way to protect yourself
is to attack.
To fight.
Can you teach me more?
Can I teach you more?
Well, perhaps over a drink, huh?
I need money.
Shame on ya.
Quiet, child.
You're in the house of God.
Look at ya.
You're a disgrace.
Don't bear grudges.
Your husband...
he ain't coming back.
You ain't done nothing
but bring shame on us.
You have a mouth on ya.
Haven't you, Mary?
Just like your mother.
You look a lot
like her in this light.
[breathes shakily]
Leave. Just leave us.
I will.
You drunken bastard.
[breathes shakily]
Here, one hand
follows the other.
Thank you, Lord...
for your gift.
Oh, hes mine and
you know hes mine.
Here you go, love. Go on.
[metal clanking]
Strike it in the
center, Belcher!
There's a line of
men to take your place
if you can't pull your weight.
[grunts, pants]
[metal sizzles]
Problem, Jem Belcher?
No, sir.
At least, it's something.
Come on.
[indistinct chatter]
Fresh custard tarts.
[speaks indistinctly]
- Oi!
- It was him!
- Learn some manners!
- No, no!
It wasn't me. It was him!
Learn some manners.
[both chuckles]
What about you, sir?
Can I interest you... no?
- Do you wanna dance?
- No!
- Come on!
- No!
Stop. Stop!
[crowd cheering]
TOM: Hey, Jem.
Come here, though!
Come on.
[Bob grunting]
[Bard grunting]
[crowd cheering]
[Bob growling]
The undefeated Bob
"Blackbeard" Britton
chalks up another victory!
[crowd cheering]
Will any other
pretender to his throne
please step forward?
It behoves me to
personally offer up...
my whole purse...
to any man who
can last one round
with Bob "Blackbeard" Britton!
[crowd cheers, applauds]
That's a lot of coin.
Jem, what are you doing?
We need those coins.
Are you joking?
He'll kill you.
What's your name, son?
Jem Belcher.
I'm the bummer.
I'm sure you're gonna
give us a great show.
Ladies and gentlemen!
One Jem Belcher!
[crowd cheers]
A diamond in the rough...
if ever I saw one.
My money's on the skinny fellow.
How much?
I'll take that bet.
To your corners.
Get in there.
[crowd clamours]
Jem, stop. He's gonna kill ya.
[crowd exclaims]
[crowd cheers]
No, get back in!
Come on, Jem!
[grunts, groans]
TOM: Yes! Come on, Jem.
[Jem grunts]
[clears throat]
Where's my coins?
Why don't you come work for me?
You can have one
of these every week.
- Were good.
- [chuckles]
Diamond in the rough.
[Jem grunts]
Close the door.
You close the door!
Just close it.
[coins rattling]
If I find out you stole this...
Don't be silly, Ma.
We earned it good and proper.
[seagulls squawking]
[waves crashing]
Well, you took your time.
You can't just walk
away from a shout
when someone offers you a drink.
Don't do all your
drinkin' in public.
You don't wanna hurt
your name by being stupid.
JEM: Seen yourself lately?
I don't need to.
I wake up every
morning in this flesh.
Same flesh, same stench.
Suits me fine.
Gotta know who you are in life.
Money comes and
goes as does women.
It's you who decides
what kind of man
you're gonna be.
[seagulls squawking]
When your grave's filled
and your flesh rots away...
all you leave
behind is your name.
Go on.
[grunts, coughs]
You're more fun to be
with now that you drink.
[birds chirping]
BILL: The smithy said
I might find you here.
The name's William Warr.
You can call me, Bill.
I watched you
fight in the forest.
Well, that, uh... that
Britton is a tasty pug.
But... you licked
him like a fool.
He was tired.
I got lucky.
You weren't lucky.
No, you... you beat a stronger,
more experienced fighter
just usin' your noggin'.
You see them?
Them gulls...
Every year, they built
their nests in them cracks.
And every year, they
get fucking washed away.
a clever bastard comes
and only builds his nest
right around the cliff.
Now, you're raw.
But with some guidance,
you could be like one of them.
Well, unless you wanna
work all your life for a pittance,
covered in shit and black smoke.
I'm a blacksmith.
I'm fine.
Then why did you
cross that rope?
It's in your blood.
Now, you come and see me.
And I'll put you at
the top of that cliff.
JEM: Grandad?
Pass me that bottle, boy.
You're going to
be a great fighter.
Listen to Bill Warr.
Did he guide you?
As far as he could.
Oh, he was not a good
listener like you are.
How did you end up like this?
We are born alone.
And we die alone.
But you're not alone.
I'm here.
Every man is alone, Jem.
Its up to you now...
you're the man of the house.
You're the one that would
put bread on the table.
Don't worry about me.
I'll be good.
I'll be good, good.
[breathes shakily]
MARY: Have compassion and
thy mercy on my father's soul.
Forgive him, his sins...
and grant that we may see him...
in the joy of
eternal brightness...
that is Christ the Lord.
BILL: Now, look, all
talent can be natural.
But control needs to be learned.
And this is the place
you'll learn control.
But before we go there,
you need to know
what brought you here.
What do you mean?
Well, your blood.
Your great grandfather
was James Figg.
You know, the father
of tactical fighting.
[scoffs] You got
some of the best pugs
pumpin' through your veins, boy.
Now, Jack...
he was a monstrous hitter.
Had a jaw like a fucking rock.
You know, but he wouldn't train.
Had no discipline.
But the best thing was
crowds fuckin' loved him.
He was hardly a bev.
Thank God, you've got your
mother's looks, you know?
[grunts softly]
What do looks have
to do with fightin'?
You'll soon find out.
[grunts softly]
Jack, he... he used to
like gettin' hit, you know?
He'd stop a punch with
his face. He loved it.
It ain't no good for
your appearance,
and it ain't no fuckin'
good for your noggin.
I don't wanna end
up the way he did.
He was a grumpy
old bastard, but...
No, you'll be all right as
long as you learn control.
All right?
Now, show me your stance.
The way you stand.
Why don't you get a little
bit on the balls of your feet?
That's it. Put your arms
up. Good. Turn a bit.
That's it. Look me in the eyes.
You see, there's
something weird.
You see my hands.
You see my feet.
Don't look down.
Do you see my feet?
Yeah. You see, the eyes are
the windows to a man's soul.
You can read him.
Hes ain't no good without this.
You can't rely on
natural ability alone.
Boxing's an art. It's a craft.
Boxers like, um... like
writers, they stand alone.
What happened to you?
Ah, well, you don't get
thick grubs like these
from just working
in the mill, do ya?
Thirty-one pugs, unbeaten...
until Mendoza.
You fought Daniel Mendoza?
Daniel fuckin' Mendoza.
Anyway, that's a
story for another time.
Wheres your hand?
Right. All I want you to do...
is slip and move.
Without my hands?
That's stupid.
- Yeah.
- [groans]
Then why am I doing it?
Because I'm in charge.
And you need to learn to
fight without your hands.
You shouldn't have any
problem duckin' out the way
of an old man like
me now, should ya?
[Jem groans]
What? Now, move. Don't get hit.
That's it. Duck and move.
Move, move.
That's it. Shoulders.
Watch, square on me.
Don't be squared off.
Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
[Jem scoffs]
When do we leave?
Ooh! Hold your horses.
Invitations are
sent out all the time
to up-and-coming fighters,
you know, for an easy win.
I mean, the champion's
tough and he's unbeaten.
And he's a dirty fighter.
I don't care. I'm ready.
- I'll do whatever it takes.
- Well, he ain't no pug.
He's a champion.
What's the purse?
- One hundred.
- [chuckles softly]
Right. Listen. This is
how it's gonna work.
We gotta cut it right
down the middle, 50-50.
Any expenses comes
outta your purse. Deal?
- Deal.
- Good.
[rain pattering]
- [Bill grunting]
- [Gilly gasps]
Jem, are them your
fightin' clothes then?
Of course, not, Gilly.
This is what they all wear
in London. Ain't it, Bill?
- Yeah. Mm-hmm.
- [Gilly giggles]
You look like Captain Queernobs.
[all chuckles]
It's fashionable.
- Ain't it?
- If you're French.
[all chuckles]
Oh, it's a waste of
cloth if you ask me.
- Show him the paper.
- Oh, yeah.
Make you look like
a proper gentleman.
Hey, Jem, look at this.
Don't even look like you.
Yeah. It's, uh,
difficult to capture
such a staggering beauty.
[all chuckle]
"Young Jem Belcher.
Fighting for the
championship of England."
All right.
[Bill clears throat]
I'll see you out, Jem.
You don't know
what you're doing.
You'll end up in the
gutter like your grandfather
with nothing to show for it.
I ain't like him, Ma.
Never will be.
Same path of damnation.
This is different.
We'll be better off.
I promise.
You don't know the
ways of the world, Jem.
Fighting's for the betting man.
People like us only lose.
That's not true, Ma.
You're wrong.
[Mary sobbing]
[indistinct chatter]
Alright, you Londoners.
Settle down. Settle down.
And now, the challenger
from the West Country.
Jem Belcher will fight
the mighty Irish champion,
The Stonemason!
[audience cheering, laughing]
Aint that something? Hmm?
- Breathe.
- [inhales deeply]
Nice and deep.
sure you capture all this, Mr. Egan.
Now, he's got a very
dangerous left cross.
All right, so I want
you to move to the right.
Want you to think.
That's where the fight's won.
Pass me your handkerchief.
[horse neighing]
- All right?
- Is that him?
[audience cheering, applauding]
[audience clamouring]
Gentlemen and ladies.
The time has come.
Are you ready for
the main event?
[audience cheering]
You know the rules.
No rabbit punching, no
biting, no thumbs in the eye.
Any tools found, big or
small, you'll be disqualified.
And you won't receive a penny.
If one of you gets knocked down,
you have 30 seconds
to get back up again.
A hungry audience here today.
Let's give them a display
of pugilism at its finest.
And not another dogfight.
Off to your corners!
[audience cheering, applauding]
[audience clamouring]
[Jem groans]
[grunts softly]
[Jem groans]
[audience cheering]
Oh, no, no, no.
Away from the ring!
Time. Time. Time!
What did I tell you?
No rabbit punching!
- What the fuck was that?
- He's fast.
He'll pound you into
the fucking ground
if you don't move.
See these? They're your shields.
Right? Don't let
anything get in your head.
This crowd, they're
not here for you.
Fucking remember that.
Now, you keep your chin down.
- [breathes heavily]
- All right?
Go ahead, knock
his fucking block off.
[breathes deeply]
- Time!
- [snarls, grunts]
[crowd clamouring]
Fuck you, tough.
They're fighters, man.
Let them fight!
When he sets himself,
have a little walk. Yeah?
Let him burn himself out.
Now, find a way in
beyond the check.
UMPIRE 2: Round three!
Jab his puss off.
[breathes deeply]
[audience cheering]
[both grunts]
Do your rounds.
- [Gamble grunts]
- [grunts]
[Gamble groans]
- [Gamble grunts]
- [Jem grunts]
[audience groans]
- [chuckles]
- Yeah. Snuffed.
[audience cheering]
The winner, from Bristol,
young Jem Belcher!
[audience cheering]
[chuckles, screams]
Well done.
This will make the front
page across the whole country.
[indistinct chatter]
Magnificent display of pugilism.
Thank you, my lord.
And for inviting us into your...
- wonderful home.
- Yeah.
[chuckles] Champion of England.
Always welcome at
the Ashford estate.
Anything you may want,
my servants will oblige.
My lord.
[chuckles, breathes deeply]
What do we do?
[clears throat, mumbles]
You hear that, Bill?
Anything we want.
Yeah. Fucking tasteless.
[guests applauding]
- Oh.
- Is that for us?
Thank you.
Gentlemen, I would be honoured
if you were to
join me for a drink.
Chin, chin.
- Is it... is it hot?
- An interesting idea.
But alas, no.
I mean, what's all this?
- Is it a trick with the eyes?
- No trick.
Something special from
the Antichrist in France.
They call it champagne.
Care to try?
I don't believe we've
had a proper introduction.
I am Lord Rushworth.
[woman laughing in distance]
We'll be as drunk as emperors
after indulging in a few
of these little darlings.
- A mere aspiration...
- Here.
For the more
imaginative peasant.
No death sentence
more certain than poverty.
I must say, your display
today was dazzling.
And it cost me a pretty penny.
You showed a novel precision
of the wrist and shoulder.
How on earth did you
manage such a feat?
Floating round with the
champion, Rushworth.
Didn't take you long, did it?
As you know, I have a
predilection for winners.
Especially, when they
appear from nowhere.
Bristol ain't nowhere.
4,045 nautical miles
from the sugarcanes
of Jamaica in fact.
Rushworth regards fighters
as a money-making
apparatus with no other value.
I simply believe that
when one man wins,
another loses.
The thrill, as it were,
is being on the
side of the victor.
Wouldn't you agree, Jem?
[gulps] I do.
Then who am I to disagree
with the new
champion of England?
Now, of course,
pugilism has been around
since the ancient Greeks,
when it was a sport
of natural beauty
or an artform, and
could be again.
All God's creatures
are furnished
with appendages
for their protection.
So, why not turn them
into instruments of profit?
But every fighter should
be one step ahead...
so he can turn this
into a proper sport.
And you're quiet
right, Lord Ashford.
It should be viewed
as an artform.
I couldn't agree with you more.
I will help arrange
your next fight, Jem.
There isn't a door in this
city that's closed to a lord.
Yeah, well, that's very
kind of you, my lord.
But we're fine for now.
When opportunity
knocks, one must answer.
[indistinct chatter]
Speaking of opportunity...
Excuse me.
He's like a dog with two cocks.
[indistinct chatter]
Give my best wishes
to your lovely wife.
And all the best to
you, Lady Abigail.
Thank you.
Mr. Belcher.
- Come.
- Yeah.
is this your first
exposure to high society?
It is.
Well, the party was meant
to be for the Irishman.
not sure he felt
like celebrating.
You... you saw the fight?
Well and truly.
Are women not
permitted at such events?
[chuckles awkwardly]
Yes, of course. I mean...
usually, I... I see a
different type of women
at the... fight.
[chuckles] I mean... well...
Have I made you
uncomfortable, Jem?
- No.
- [Lady Abigail chuckles]
- Good.
- [chuckles]
You'd be surprised
at how many women
enjoy the spectacle.
You'll find many
women in the crowds.
You just have to take notice.
- [chuckles]
- [indistinct chatter]
The new champ toys have arrived.
- Get me one.
- Make way.
Whoa! They look so real!
In the meantime,
we'll have some fun.
- Ooh!
- Ooh!
Classy dresser.
[exotic woman moans]
[breathes heavily]
[exotic woman giggles]
[speaks Spanish]
What are you drinking, Jem?
Give me some.
[smooches, chuckles]
[exotic woman giggles]
[indistinct chatter]
- Time!
- [grunts]
[crowd cheering]
[grunts, groans]
[screams, grunts]
[indistinct shouting]
Loosen up.
[grunts, groans]
How daunting.
- [scoffs]
- [grunts]
- [John groans]
- Yes!
- [Jem grunts]
- Yes.
- [crowd cheering]
- Hey!
Well done, well done!
We need more of that. Spectacle!
Well, that was a different
approach, wasn't it?
Fantastic spectacle.
Well done, well done.
Mr. Warr.
will that demonstration
excite your readers?
EGAN: Indeed, my lord, it will.
[Rushworth laughs]
DOCK SELLER: Fresh bread!
Come and get your fresh bread.
Go on, step up. There you go.
Theres two for you, darling.
BOY: There they
are. It's Jem's mum.
Fresh bread, anyone?
Come on, everyone. Fresh bread.
Fresh bread, ladies?
You must be proud
of your boy, Mary.
Jem Belcher.
Champion of England.
He beat Andrew
Gamble black and blue.
GILLY: Yeah, you're right.
[inhales, exhales]
Champion of England?
Here, Ma.
What's taking you so long?
I'm just getting used to it.
It's really very simple.
You bet the checks
on your best five cards.
What use is it to invent a game
only to have it outlawed
a few years later?
[chuckles] What do you expect?
That's the French for you.
Everything they do is backwards.
Who do you suppose will
be your next opponent?
That depends on who's left.
The ring has
invigorated English life.
A life you'll never find
in William Wordsworth.
Fighting provides a stepladder
for a pauper to become a prince.
I agree. But reading poetry
should not be discounted
as a worthy pursuit.
I confess that I myself
have quite a penchant
for Mr. Wordsworth.
- So do Dandies.
- [laughs]
Soon, there will be
ranks and weight classes.
Men will need to reach
and earn a certain level
before challenging anyone.
Yes, a fight's a fight, Egan.
Let's not get bogged
down in technicalities.
On that note.
[Ashford chuckles]
I thought you were
just getting used to it.
Oh! Fold.
I am out.
Shall we raise the
stakes before the last turn?
You know what,
it's not worth it.
He bets like the king.
Victory and defeat
lie in wait side by side.
[Jem smacks lips]
All in, my lord.
I'll join you.
- Oh!
- [chuckles]
Kings are rarely beaten.
But the ace trumps
the king. Well done.
EGAN: Very good. Very good.
- [Lady Ashford chuckling]
- Another round, please, Jerry.
Your lordship, could I have
a... a private word, please?
Spit it out.
JERRY: Yes, my lord.
I... I do beg your pardon.
It's just your line of
credit is rather high
and over its limit.
[clears throat]
Are you trying to embarrass me?
No. Not at all. It's just...
- [chokes]
- Pitiful scum.
I could burn this
place down tonight
and no one would give two fucks!
Stop it, Rushworth.
I didn't mean to offend
you, my lord, I swear.
LORD ASHFORD: Shame on you, sir.
This is not the conduct
becoming an officer
in His Majesty's
Navy, retired or not.
[horse snorts]
[indistinct chatter
in background]
[horse snorts]
[men cheering in distance]
[indistinct chatter]
Here's to me.
[glasses clink]
[speaks indistinctly]
Must be excitin',
seein' new places.
Yeah, it is.
Tom and Gilly
ask about you a lot.
[birds chirping in distance]
Everywhere I go nowadays
someone asks about you.
I miss them.
I miss you, too.
You can come back
home whenever you want.
You know that, don't you?
What'd I miss?
[blowing punches]
Anyone to watch out for?
Well, there's always
someone worth watchin' out for.
As long as I keep
winnin', what else matters?
What's that for?
Champion or challenger, you
turn up on my camp on time.
I am the champion.
Ain't that enough for you?
Well, you're gonna
make a choice.
You either train like a champion
or you get ready to be a loser.
[blowing punches]
That's the first time you've
called me a loser, Bill.
[blowing punches]
Welcome to Fives.
So, what's the occasion?
Celebration of the
well-heeled, the wealthy,
and the immovability
of our status.
- [chuckles]
- I see.
Hierarchies exist everywhere.
They're a natural
course of life.
Is that your theory, My Lord?
Uh, not a theory, but a fact.
You need only look at
the animal kingdom, hmm,
that are tuned to status
in the same way we are.
We are made to live this way.
I do hope you're enjoying.
We are living in a
golden age, Jem.
There's no better
time to be alive.
- Hmm?
- [grunts]
Ever boxed a kangaroo before?
Can't say I have.
They can be nasty bastards.
I fought with one.
The animal attempted kicking
me in the gingambobs, hmm?
You should try it sometime.
Perhaps, I will.
You know what I
love about fighting?
What's that?
It's the only sport where money
is made by men doing somethin'
they'd ordinarily
be locked up for.
Never thought of
it like that before.
[glass clinks]
We can achieve
even greater things
than we already have.
[speaks indistinctly]
Careful, careful!
Whoa, ho, ho, ho!
I can see the
champion of England
takes his leisure
activities very seriously.
May I present, fresh
fighting prospect,
Henry Pearce.
Jem Belcher.
Jem Belcher, I'm a big fan.
Pleasure to meet you, champ.
[indistinct chatter
in background]
Shall we continue with
the fun on the court, hmm?
Ladies and gentlemen,
myself, Your Lordship
has challenged the
champion of England
to a Fives handball battle.
Gather 'round and
place your bets, hmm?
- After you.
- [grunts]
[indistinct chatter]
[ball bouncing]
[indistinct chatter]
- [groans]
- [thud]
[Jem groaning]
My eye!
Jem, don't make such a fuss.
[fire crackling in background]
Maybe you should go
home and see the family.
Do you good.
I'm fine.
Just sort the next purse.
You can't see, can you?
I can see just fine.
You know. You know what I mean.
[cup rattles]
I know who I am.
I am Jem Belcher.
I am champion of England.
[horse trotting in distance]
Your absence these past
weeks has sent tongues wagging.
I'm ready for the next fight.
I admire your optimism, Jem,
we must take things
one step at a time.
Like I said, bring
me a challenger
and I'll defend my title.
I'm sure you will,
however I have a responsibility
to deliver what the people want.
The people want
me, not the challenger.
Don't be nave, Jem.
This is a great spectacle
of human courage
we're talking about.
It means engineering it first.
I sell out crowds who
pay to see me fight.
Not only to see you fight,
see you overcome adversity.
We are telling them
a story, you see?
Before victory
must come struggle.
I struggled to become
Champion of England!
- Isn't that enough?
- Yeah.
Your story's not yet
reached its conclusion, Jem.
People wanted to
see its final chapter.
You won't control me.
And you won't
control the people.
Without the people, Jem,
you and I both are nothing.
[indistinct chatter and
laughter in background]
Don't worry, I'm not
after your money.
Straight in from the Americas.
Better than the rat's
piss they drink here.
[jewelry clinking]
[door shuts]
[cups clinking]
[cups clink]
Lord Jesus, Bill was right.
You can't stay over here.
What you doin' here?
What happened to your eye?
You're coming home with me.
JEM: No, I'm not goin' anywhere.
I'm not goin' anywhere.
Don't you dare!
[breathing heavily]
Shame on you!
Leave me alone!
[breathing heavily]
[breathing heavily]
[crowd cheering]
[dresser-top items shatter]
[breathing heavily]
[horse trotting]
[horse neighs]
- [thump]
- [horse neighs and snorts]
[coins clink]
Watch it.
You think we're after
your money, Belcher?
The great Jem Belcher has
become a quivering little coward
and a one-eyed pony.
[red coat guard laughs]
WALTER: Are you okay, my friend?
WALTER: Uh, strange
things happen to a...
A man's mind in here.
[chuckles] Don't let
the darkness fool you.
Our mother's womb
gave us life after darkness.
After nine months
from darkness to light.
And I would love
you all the day
Every night
with kiss and play
[keys jingling]
[sighs, sniffles]
That's all you're
gettin', so make it last.
[keys jingling]
[door squeaks]
[door slams]
"The new champion of England,
one Henry 'The
Game Chicken' Pearce,
enjoys his new found
fame and fortune
under the auspices
of Lord Rushworth
in company both high and low."
So says the very
fine Pierce Egan,
sportswriter without equal.
[takes a deep breath]
JACK: In life,
don't no one give
two shits about you.
[breathing heavily]
I see the darkness
no longer scares you.
[breathing heavily]
Fear can change the
most stubborn creatures.
Uh, you... you make
no sense, old man.
[breathing heavily]
Uh, hey, young
man, can you come...
Come here a moment.
Yes, just a moment.
[breathing heavily]
No, look into the mirror.
Look into your eyes.
See what's staring back at you.
It's just me.
No, I said "what", not "who".
Yes. That's it.
Self-hatred is
staring back at you.
Discipline yourself
in the trivialities
of life first,
then all matters greater
than this will follow.
And only God determines
the weal and woe of this world,
but man controls his own mind,
readying yourself for
any such tempest of fate
that may blow your way.
The only blame that should weigh
upon your shoulders, young
man, is that of self-neglect.
Now, you must embrace...
Embrace the sovereignty
of your own mind.
You have anybody waiting
for you on the outside?
But they're not expecting me.
Who's waiting for you?
No one in particular.
Only death.
[keys jingling]
[door unlocks]
Your debt has
been paid, Belcher.
Where's... where's Walter?
That old bastard?
He suffered long enough.
Come on! Chop, chop!
Yes. Walter.
What happened to him?
[rain pattering]
It'll be all right.
JEM: Let's dig in.
[Jem sighs]
You know, you've become
quite the hero 'round here.
Not sure I feel like one.
[crockery clatters]
What took you so
long to come back?
I don't know.
Well, we never would've
got by without you.
You know, no proper
food, new clothes.
I mean, even new shoes.
I'm glad you came home.
We all are.
Can I see your eye then?
Oh, Gilly, don't be silly.
It's okay, she can see it.
- [chuckles]
- Still got my good one.
Is it true that the
ladies in London
have a different
dress every day?
Yeah, probably.
London's a big fairground.
You can have fun and enjoy it,
but too much can
make you feel sick.
I wanna go there.
What is this?
It's asparagus.
It's what they eat in London.
[water rippling]
Wash your hands...
in salted water
after each fight.
That way you keep
'em in good shape.
[water rippling]
It's good to be home.
"Oh, Lord, I give
my life to you,
I trust into you."
"Show me the
right path, oh, Lord.
Point out
the road that I should follow.
Not remember
the rebellious
sins of my youth."
[sighs] Remember me...
in the light of
Your unfailing love.
Oh, Lord."
[indistinct chatter and
laughter in background]
TOM: Oi.
- You're chirpy.
- Yeah.
'Cause I just seen Bill.
Really? How is the old fart?
The old fart wants to
give you another chance.
He couldn't tell
me that himself?
Fuck sake, Jem.
This is good.
Just... you just gotta be
at his barn in the mornin'.
Right? No excuses.
He believes in you, Jem.
We all do.
I'll see you in the
mornin', yeah?
And don't be late.
Turn your glove over.
There you go. Get
used to these quick.
All things have changed
since you was last
in front of the ropes.
You got a lot to learn.
Hmm? How does that feel?
No, you... no, you, look...
Uh, you're... you're fucking
slow and you're fucking weak!
And we ain't got time
for fuckin' mistakes.
Come on.
Henry Pearce is ferocious
and he'll knock a
fuckin' hole in you!
You gotta work harder than
you've ever fucking worked
in your life!
That won't work.
Push your fuckin' self.
Come on, work.
One chance.
You're running like my mother.
But you gotta ask yourself
do you really want this.
Do you? Where is it?
You gotta work,
work, work, work.
[Jem grunting]
Well, move about on your toes.
That's it.
I want you to get in there.
Oh, see that meadow?
Get in there, take
your shoes off.
[indistinct chanting]
BILL: Henry Pierce
is gonna hunt down.
He' gonna come looking for you.
And you ain't fucking
fought no one like him before.
[water splashes]
Come on, Jem, we've
been here all day!
- What are you?
- Champion of England.
Now, fuckin' hit him.
Hurt him!
- Jab!
- [grunts]
Henry Pierce. Higher.
BILL: In you go.
Keep on your toes.
What's the mud for, Bill?
Uh, it strengthens the legs.
You look sharp.
Not yet, you don't.
It ain't no game
if you get stuck.
You gotta move.
Come on, move.
[Jem pants]
Jem, we can come back tomorrow.
You gotta punch through it.
Work it!
Beat, beat, beat!
Throw the shoulder.
Beat! Beat!
Now, try and catch
one of them blue flies.
Which one?
It's blue.
Push, push, push, push. Bam!
[water ripples]
You know what I
call these creatures?
The Egyptians called
'em "thunderer of the Nile."
- [zap]
- [yells]
Come on, Jem, if
you can take this,
Pearce won't have
anything for you.
Champion of England,
champion of England.
Champion of England.
Champion of England.
Champion of England.
[water splashes]
Betted it all on Pearce.
PIERCE: The day we've
waited for is finally upon us.
The heroic Jem Belcher,
grandson of the mighty
Jack Slack himself,
will lock horns with Henry
The Game Chicken Pierce
in an epic battle for
the championship
of the United Kingdom.
Today marks the
evolution of the sport
and shall be spoken of
for generations to come.
- June 26th.
- [indistinct speech]
The Championship
Prizefight in Victoria.
Proving the young
can outsmart the old,
the champion
dancing in the ring...
- [indistinct speech]
- [grunts]
This will top it, though.
It's bein' talked about
across the whole country.
- First...
- Move your hands.
PIERCE: The great James Figg.
Then his grandson,
your grandfather,
Jack Slack.
And now, historian's ink
is poised to etch your name
- in its annals!
- There you go, young man.
Tomorrow will be an
historic day for the sport
and for you, Jem.
It's the catalyst of a
new wave of smart,
Scientific pugilism.
Keep your spirits high.
You deserve to
win this one, champ!
[fighter grunting]
[horse trots]
Oh, fuck.
What do you want
here, Rushworth?
- It's Lord to you.
- Oh.
Or has your memory gone soft?
Well, there ain't no lords here.
We're simply here
to wish the challenger
the best of luck,
as any honourable gentlemen
would in today's free world.
We don't need luck.
[birds chirping in distance]
How does it feel knowin' what
was once yours is now mine?
It won't last.
Your pitiful excuse
won't get you no
free pass tomorrow.
We're similar, you and me.
I can see it.
Only difference is I'll
be the one walkin' away
with a heavier bag of coins.
We'll see.
Take care of that precious eye.
[horse trots]
All right, let's get
back to the graft.
How about moving?
JACK: When your grave is
filled and your flesh rots away,
all you leave
behind is your name.
[indistinct chatter
in background]
[cheering and applauding]
[indistinct chanting]
[indistinct lyrics]
Good luck, Jem.
Be careful.
MARY: You know, I can't
bear to watch you fight.
I know you'll win.
[cheering and applauding]
[indistinct chanting]
Jim Belcher!
[cheering and applauding]
Come here.
[sniffles, grunts]
Pace yourself and
protect that eye.
Box him.
Don't get into a slugging match.
Be smart.
You got a the bigger area there,
so turn that into
your advantage.
And move.
[takes a deep breath]
Finish him as per our agreement.
Make it look good.
You want this?
- Do you want this?
- Yeah.
[takes a deep breath]
Go on.
[crowd cheering and clapping]
Gentlemen, you
know the new rules.
The gloves are
there to protect you.
They stay on at all times.
You get knocked over, you
got 10 seconds to get up.
Do you accept?
Touch gloves, let's
have a good fight.
Henry Pearce!
- [crowd cheering and applauding]
- Wait.
Your real game is to
throw him off the cliff.
[crowd cheering and applauding]
[bell ringing]
UMPIRE 4: First round!
- [groans]
- That's it.
Use the rink.
Good job.
GILLY: Come on, Jem!
[cheering and applauding]
Jem, pull back, pull back.
[indistinct speech]
Shields in your front.
[cheering and applauding]
Time! Time!
All right. Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Come, come on.
Boy, he's going for the eye.
Don't drop your fucking guard.
Just show him who you are.
[breathing heavily]
All right, these... these
are your fucking shields.
- Use them.
- Yeah.
Use them.
[bell dings]
[cheering and applauding]
Come on, Jem!
Pound him.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Time!
All right! Pearce,
get to your corner.
BILL: Come on.
Come on, come on. Sit down.
[indistinct speech]
Come on. Come on.
[indistinct speech]
Keep using that hook.
Destroy the eye.
All right.
- Come on. Focus. Alright?
- Yeah.
Watch him.
- Good. Stay out of corners.
- [bell dings]
UMPIRE 4: Third round!
ANNOUNCER: Third round!
BILL: Move. Box him.
Move off!
GILLY: Come on, Jem!
All right, all right,
enough of that, Pearce.
In the other round.
Back to your corner.
[crowd member whistling]
[indistinct chanting]
- [sighs]
- Oh.
How do I look?
Ah, you look like
Harry Handsome.
[laughing together]
Now, this'll take
the swelling down.
Do not go to war with this man.
Use this.
Don't let him trap
you in a corner.
Turn him.
It's beautiful when you box.
When you're jammin' out.
Beat, beat, beat. Huh?
Go on.
- [yells]
- [bell dings]
UMPIRE 4: Round 4!
- [groans]
- [thump]
[cheering an applauding]
Get up!
4, 5, 6, 7.
- 8, 9.
- [grunts]
Yeah, come on, baby.
- Yeah.
- [grunting]
[indistinct speech] Time!
Beautiful, beautiful.
Beautiful, you're boxing.
You're usin' that.
Block that.
Use your fuckin' head!
You gotta get him, right.
You gotta get him out, son.
You gotta move 'em all around.
Do not let him get you.
Come on, son. Go.
LORD RUSHWORTH: Come on, Henry!
[crowd cheering]
LORD RUSHWORTH: Come on, Henry!
[crowd cheering]
UMPIRE 4:1, 2, 3...
UMPIRE 4:4, 5, and time!
BILL: Okay. Okay.
Well done, Henry, well done!
- TRAINER: Good man, well done.
- That's it!
Oh, fuck me.
It's hangin' off
the bone, that is.
All right, then. Hold fast.
[bone crackles]
That's it.
You are a proper fighter now.
Eh? Breathe. Come on.
Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Did you hear me, Jem?
- Hey?
- Yeah. Yeah.
[breathes heavily]
You gotta focus.
These are the championship
rounds, all right?
You gotta fuckin' dominate him.
It's about who wants
you the most, him or you.
You ain't gonna
fuckin' give it, you.
You gotta fuckin' take it.
Yeah. Have some water.
Show me, yeah,
its all right now.
Go on, son.
[bell dings]
- [bell dings]
- [grunting]
Go, mate!
[bell dings]
BILL: Yeah! Get
going, get going, Jem!
[bell dings]
[bell dings]
Well done!
[bell dings]
[cheering and applauding]
[bell dings]
Well done, Henry!
[bell dings]
[both grunting]
[bell dings]
[audience cheers]
[both grunting]
[audience cheers]
[grunts, pants]
Off. Look at me.
How many fingers
am I holdin' out?
F... f... four.
I don't know how much
more you can take, son.
Your other eye's now fucked.
Mm, I'm okay,
Uh, you're as blind
as a fuckin' bat.
- I'm gonna stop this.
- No, no, no, no, no, please!
Please, please, Bill, please.
- Just go and open it.
- I can't.
Just go, open it.
Come on, please.
- I can't.
- Come on, just open it.
Open it, please!
Please, do it, Bill.
Bill, do it. Please.
Come on. Come on.
[Jem groaning]
[Jem breathing heavily]
Okay, all right.
All right, breathe deep.
[takes deep breaths]
Breathe. That's it.
Nice and steady.
That's it. All right.
That's it.
Drink water.
[audience cheers]
MARY: Win or lose...
I'm proud of you.
Wait, wait!
Listen. Listen.
It's good your mum's here,
but you gotta
focus on the fight.
He won't quit.
Don't let him cut you open.
You bleed anymore,
you'll be fuckin' dead.
You need to open
his eye back up.
Make him bleed.
I know you're
tired, but so is he.
Have a look.
I'll win fair and
square or not at all.
LORD RUSHWORTH: If you don't
finish him in this round, you bastard,
I'll lose a fortune.
And by God, so will you.
- [grunts]
- [crowd exclaims]
Oh, what's going on?
[takes deep breaths]
I aint gonna cheat,
Bill or what he claim.
My compliments, Mr. Pearce.
You do honour to
the sport of boxing.
Both of you do.
[crowd cheering in background]
Show me.
I don't feel my hand.
- [bones crackle]
- [groans]
Its broken, son.
That's it.
All right.
Listen to me.
I'll give you one more
round, then I'm callin' it.
Do you understand?
Do you understand?
[sniffles] All right.
All right.
Good boy.
UMPIRE 4: Ladies and gentlemen,
this will be the final
round of the belt.
Round 18!
[bell dings]
UMPIRE 4: Box.
[cheering and applauding]
- Come on!
- [grunting]
Yeah! Come on!
Don't make me do this!
Come on! Hit me!
Don't make me do this!
Come on! Come!
You have nothing
left to prove, Jem!
Do it! Come on! Come!
[crowd chanting]
Seven, eight, nine, ten.
That's it.
Henry Pearce is still
the champion of England.
[crowd cheering, applauding]
[crowd chanting, applauding]