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Customer Review

on November 23, 2003
Two unscrupulous fight promoters make a deal with an underworld kingpin: their aging client, who's had a run of bad luck in the ring, will throw an upcoming match with the gangster's young protege. There's just one problem ... they don't bother to tell the veteran boxer about the fix, because they plan to keep his share of the pay-off. Needless to say, all hell breaks loose, both in and out of the ring. It's a taut, suspenseful plot and to add to the excitement, the movie takes place in real time: 71 minutes in these characters' lives, unfolding in 71 minutes of screen time.
This tough, gritty little masterpiece offers a superb performance by Robert Ryan as the doublecrossed fighter. Lean, muscled, with a world-weary look on his once-handsome face, Ryan's physical perfection in the role is matched by the economy of his acting style. He's surrounded by an excellent supporting cast; every role, including the various spectators in the arena, is beautifully played. Tightly directed by Robert Wise, "The Set-Up" is a gem, and a perfect example of the film noir genre.
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