Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Rumble Through The Dark slowly punches it way to enjoyable entertainment

Aaron Eckhart continues his second-tier lead role in Rumble Through the Dark from Lionsgate. Graham and Parker Philips direct the film from a s screenplay by Michael Farren Smith, who adapts his novel, The Fighter.
The acres and acres of fertile soil and 200-year-old antebellum house are all gone, and so is the foster mother who gave it to Jack Boucher (Eckhart).

She’s only days away from dying, with a mind eroded by dementia and the family legacy she entrusted to Jack now owned by banks and strangers. Jack’s mind has begun to fail, too. Decades of bare-knuckle fighting are now taking their toll, as concussion after concussion forces him to carry around a stash of illegal painkillers and a notebook of names that separates friend from foe.

Jack’s dreams of recovering his lost possessions and dignity are crushed when he meets an untrustworthy gambler who steals the money Jack needs to pay his debts to the queen of the underworld in the Delta region, Big Momma Sweet (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). Her hideout, situated deep in the forest, serves as a place of indulgence for those who can afford it.

After this sudden reversal of fortune, Jack finds an unexpected savior: a sultry carnival worker named Annette (played by Bella Throne). Annette, guided by her “church of coincidence,” helps Jack find redemption but soon realizes the world of Big Momma Sweet is full of danger. Jack is damaged by regret, battered by 25 years of fighting, and heartbroken by his betrayals. He must step into the fighting pit again, with the stakes nothing less than life or death.

Rumble Through the Dark is one of the films that sold me on the cover art. Aaron Eckhart is far removed from his leading status days and is arguably just collecting a check with some of his choices as of recently. However, Eckhart does his best to elevate the material. He portrays Jack Boucher as a complex and deeply flawed protagonist.

Jack is burdened by his past, battling demons and yearning for redemption. Smith’s screenplay provides the actor an opportunity to explore Jack’s innermost thoughts, crafting a portrayal of a man who is both physically and emotionally wounded. The supporting characters, Annette and Big Momma Sweet are equally well-defined, each contributing complexity and subtlety to the narrative, with the respective actresses delivering solid performances.

Smith’s writing style is raw and powerful, perfectly capturing the boxing world’s brutal and violent nature, which transfers well to the screen. The director’s attention to detail is evident throughout the film, immersing viewers in the grimy atmosphere of small-town Mississippi and the high-stakes world of professional fighting. The choreography of the fights is vivid and visceral, allowing viewers to feel every punch, sweat, and blood splatter.

The pacing may hinder some viewers as the narrative unfolds non-linearly, jumping between different periods of Jack’s life, which some may find distracting. Despite this, Eckhart’s performance did keep my attention until the final bell. Nevertheless, this film is worth watching if you enjoy dark and gritty stories that delve into the human condition.

Final Grade: B-
Rumble Through the Dark is available to stream now.

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