Knuckle Review


Storyline: An epic 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting. Residing in Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom, the Travelers are a nomadic ethnic group with their own customs and a deep sense of clan pride, despite being interrelated by marriage within their small population. When conflicts arise between rival clans, arguments are often settled through ritualized, bare-knuckle fighting.
Genres: Documentary and Art/Foreign
Release Date: December 2nd, 2011 (limited)

My Review: Remember in Snatch, the bare-knuckle gypsy fights, well this is the real deal. That’s what this documentary is all about, besides the underlying message of petty issues between families that have been long overplayed. Ian Palmer spent 12 years following members of the Irish Travellers while recording the fights as part of his documentary. The Travellers are a nomadic ethnic group in England and Ireland and are also referred to as ‘gypsies’. In this documentary, we get a look into these Irish Travellers’ customs of frequently challenging each other to clan vs clan brawls.

It was a little bit confusing for me, but basically you have three families who are distant cousins that have been rivals for years. They are constantly challenging each other through videos to fight. Once the challenge has been accepted (which always is), they meet up to fight in the middle of nowhere with two neutral referees and no family as spectators to avoid any gang brawls. The fights are usually betted on and are recorded so that the families can watch the fight once it is over.

It seems that the fighting has been going on for so long that they don’t even know the real roots to the feud between the families. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what they are saying and the documentary doesn’t go into too much detail of the secretive world of the Travellers’. It would have been interesting to know where they get their money to make those huge bets and I was starting to think the kids don’t even go to school. +_O

It just goes to show how small grudges or disputes can evolve over time into a dominate lifestyle and continues on to the next generation without no clear purpose. For a documentary that has been shot for a period of 12 years, its worth the watch 7.5/10.


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