The Survivor review: Barry Levinsons exceptional underdog tale

The Survivor review: Barry Levinsons exceptional underdog tale

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Harry Haft’s only famous fight was a short 1949 tangle with future world champion Rocky Marciano. Levinson is more interested in Haft’s billing since announcers and posters literally introduced him as ‘The Survivor of Auschwitz’.

Polish Jew Haft (Ben Foster) was taught to box by an SS officer so he could compete in gladiatorial bouts with fellow prisoners. As the losers were shot, guilt stalked Haft throughout his life.

Most of this true story takes place in the 1940s as Haft prepares for his fight with Marciano but also befriends Miriam (Vicky Krieps) who is helping him track down his missing Polish girlfriend.

Foster is excellent and the film asks interesting questions about morality and responsibility. But, too often, the present gets lost in flashbacks to the horrors of the past.

  • The Survivor: On Sky Cinema and NOW from Sunday.

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