Ian Palmer’s rough, ragged “Knuckle,” a Sundance 2011 entry, follows over a decade in the brawling, battering life of the warring Irish Traveler Quinn McDonagh and Joyce families, who specialize in bare-knuckle-boxing street fights. The blood and bruises will likely seem excessive in the mooted HBO fictionalization, but in its real-life endless grudge match, the “Knuckle” manages to make “Fight Club” look like a model of restraint. Watching, you fear, you learn why to empathize, and eventually you wish you were a referee who could just step in and make them stop. 97m. (Ray Pride)
“Knuckle” plays Saturday and Sunday at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.