A familiar story of a struggling ex-boxer who winds up in bed with a mobster, Noah Buschel’s Glass Chin tries to spin a 1930s B movie premise into a contemporary art film. And it almost works.

Corey Stoll is Bud, whose best days are long behind him. The restaurant he opened at the height of his fame has gone under, and he and his girl (Marin Ireland) have moved into a crappy apartment in Brooklyn. He’s training a young fighter and looking to open a new place, which is where J.J. Cook (Billy Crudup) comes in. Connected and confident, Cook offers Bud both financial and moral support, as long as Bud does a couple of things for him first.

Stoll puts an interesting spin on the traditional palooka figure – he’s smart enough to know when he’s in over his head, but not smart enough to see a way out – and his scenes with Crudup have a great snap to them. Buschel plays out the pulpy plot in long, static takes, denying us the story beats he’s promised in order to push deeper into his characters.

That approach does have a way of muting the thriller aspect of the film, which stumbles in its final movements. But Stoll’s worth watching, even as the movie wheezes to its finish. 

 

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