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July 6, 2015

DVDFilm + EntertainmentReview | by Francesco Cerniglia


Life isn’t perfect but we make the best of what we have. Fighting Demons is a surprisingly charming and rich tale that shows one man’s struggle recovering to everyday life. As we watch an ex-convict’s attempts to feel normal again after being released, but with the shadow of his past following him wherever he goes, we wonder how he will cope when tragedy is waiting just around the corner.

Vian (Sean Bean), is an ex-fighter who has just been released from prison for beating someone to death after a drunken brawl at a party. He is a man of simple taste who wants nothing more than to feel normal again, but in the past he would often fall victim to his temper and his drinking. Sober now for 12 years, Vian resorts to moving into his sister Bethley’s garage.

Bethley (Kate Walsh) is a struggling single mom who is fighting her own demons that come with that lifestyle. Her sole responsibility is taking care of her son Jimmy (Nolan Gross), a loveable lonely kid who suffers with bullying at school and who’s never had any real friends. For that reason Jimmy is more than happy when his “Uncle Vi” comes to stay. We see Vian and Jimmy’s friendship grow and the talks they have constantly remind Vian that life is not so bad after all.

In Vian’s search for a normal life he finally manages to get a job in a pizzeria and even a girlfriend. The business is run by one man named Roland (Tom Arnold) who takes Vian under his wing and helps him get on his feet: it seems that Roland has a controversial past as well and almost sees himself in Vian. We also meet Jolene (Eva Longoria) Vian’s new girlfriend, and after a shaky start it seems that their relationship is going strong. Jolene sees something in Vian that warms her heart, and she reminds him what it was like to be normal again.

Just when it seems that Vian is gonna make it and his life is looking up, his past of course starts catching up with him and things begin to fall apart as he gets too comfortable and lets his guard down, therefore letting his temper get the better of him. When tragedy inevitably strikes, Vian finds out that his hardest battle lies ahead and not behind him.

Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, The Lord Of The Rings) delivers a solid performance as Vian, however he is slightly overshadowed by his three main co-stars, who all shine in brilliant performances.

Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy), as Vian’s sister, creates the perfect atmosphere between the two characters, and showcases great emotions through the tension, love and history that these two characters share. By disguising her love and support for her brother as a hard and rule-filled big sister, she performs a perfect example of tough love.

Tom Arnold’s performance as Roland, the fast talking, advise-filled best friend, is beautifully light-hearted and the conversations the two characters share help to light up an otherwise dark story. Of course Roland is rather far from being perfect but his watching over Vian proves he doesn’t want his new friend to make the same mistakes he did.

Eva Longoria’s Jolene represents the perfect normal life Vian is looking for. His new love interest is in fact utterly open and honest, with nothing to hide. Longoria’s natural and affectionate performance is beautiful.


Unfortunately, the only cast member not up to par is Nolan Gross as Vian’s nephew, Jimmy. It seems the young actor struggled to capture the emotional side of his character, which was a shame, considering that Jimmy helps Vian’s human side to shine.

Fighting Demons is a beautiful and charming story with some wonderful relationships on display that showcase amazing realism in depicting our everyday struggles.

Fighting Demons is available in the UK on DVD and Digital Download from July 6th

Charlie Quirke