Fat City

Fat City (1972)

Fat City
7/10 by 20 users

Two men, working as professional boxers, come to blows when their careers each begin to take opposite momentum.

Release Date:July 26, 1972
MPAA Rating:PG
Production Company:Columbia Pictures Corporation, Rastar Pictures
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:John Huston
Casts:, , , , ,
Plot Keywords:transporter, boxer, boxing match, sport, gritty, over-the-hill fighter
  • Overlooked and forgotten, still packs quite a punch
    February 6, 2000
    American audiences don't generally go in for realistic stories of human despair and suffering that offer very little in the way of hope or relief. This may explain why John Huston's Fat City has been condemned to obscurity, a real shame considering what a great flick it is. It's the sort of movie you see and remember but can't quite pick it out of a line-up... a shuffling, mumbling story of down-and-out pugs in an off-the-map burgh. You're taunted with the possibilities of the story picking up to... well if not epic at least noteworthy proportions... but, all of the characters' minor victories are mitigated by their simultaneous defeats. Keach's Tully is the main thrust of the story, though it tends to veer off on the occasional tangent. A has-been who possibly never really was, crushed by the departure of his wife and overwhelmed by the constant little defeats in his life. Huston really drives this point home, that all of these little defeats add up. Without giving too much away, suffice to say Fat City is a film where mood overshadows plot. The mood is indelibly rendered by Conrad Hall's dark, dirty images, which nearly swallow the characters in the depth of their shadows. Watching it back to back with fellow pugilist opus Raging Bull (1980), it's easy to see that Huston was a keen observer of human behaviour, while Scorsese was a keen observer of Hollywood films of the thirties. And don't even talk about Rocky. I would compare it favourably with Barbet Schroeder's Barfly (1987), another film about fringe life in California, and even Vincent Gallo's excellent Buffalo '66 (1998), though of the three it is the bleakest and the least accessible.