Film

Film

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Saddled with a ham-fistedly literal title and copious aesthetic ineptitude (asymmetrical split screen, risible freeze-frames, anachronistic techno score), this fact-based Australian sports drama still cuts a convincing testament to the merits of tough love. Rejecting Hamlet as poofter hogwash, a capricious, violent drunkard (Geoffrey Rush) shoves his sons into supermasculinity, pitting brother against brother in impromptu backyard boxing matches as his long-suffering wife (Judy Davis) looks on. Though middle child Tony (Jesse Spencer) trains successfully as a swimmer, striving for filial approval proves a Sisyphean task. Rush and Davis perform strikingly against type, suffusing an otherwise average genre pic with quiet dignity. “When I was your age, I was tougher,” Rush sneers. As a riposte, his champion child sets out to prove the maxim of that other recent, wildly overpraised sports flick: Tough ain’t enough.