"How many times I gotta say it? There's no percentage in smartenin' up a chump."

The Set-Up (1949)
Directed by Robert Wise, not rated, 72 minutes

The Set-Up is a gritty and atmospheric film noir about a washed up boxer who desperately believes he'll make it by beating his upcoming, much younger opponent. But his manager, sure that he'll lose, makes a deal for him to take a dive, but, so he can keep the money, doesn't tell his man. The premise is brilliant, and jives well with noir's fatalistic themes, but it's the hard-hitting, almost disturbing atmosphere that builds over the film that's most memorable. Not to mention the boxing scenes, which are staggeringly brutal and realistic. The Set-Up unfolds over real time, allowing the suspense and dread to build, and the eerie mood doesn't leave much hope in the seedy underbelly of the unforgiving boxing underground. You'll like it if: You like boxing films, film noir, washed up protagonists, Night and the City, Raging Bull or The Killers.

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