Day and night. Day and night. This is how the film travels making sure that both of them are present at once.
Charlie Chaplin’s boxing match is not a serious match. I know that’s obvious. But it is not. Not expected. At the back your thoughts, you are always waiting to get things serious. Gritty. Bloody. Brutal. Intense. And it is these films that makes us expect these things from a genre as such. Not even touching the Rocky milestone, I am just playing around Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese and Battling Butler by Michel Keaton- someone from Charlie’s days itself. They’ve all tried to plaster the sincerity of that job on screen. You can joke around, fool around as much as you like but that sport is respected with a jarring punch when the time comes.
Not to say that Charlie doesn’t respect it. His method of living up to that “dutiful” objective is somewhat different. Nay, not different. Mature. Ahead of time. He doesn’t pay homage to those heavy lifters by putting them in the ring, but does it so elegantly in the dressing room. From hard work to the stakes that are played every night on the screen, everything is mocked or more accurately notified in Charlie’s dictionary. There is a sense of pride in carrying that note.
And maybe that is why he has crafted such an empathetic and a low key character in the rest of the screen time. He is wreck but an adoptable one. Another thing that makes this film incredibly different than the others is the jokes. All the jokes are an elaborative comic sketches that takes energy along with time for it to work, from you. And then there is the end of the tunnel in the City Lights. A purely unconditional and innocent act that penetrates your emotion as that good old symbol of love arrow does. The birds fly and sing by merrily.