Carl Sandburg's 1916 paean to the “City of the Big Shoulders” inspired this independent feature about some melancholy Chicagoans. Writer-director Gerard Jamroz stars as a stormy, husky, brawling boxer mooching off (and cheating on) his salesgirl lover; other story threads involve a lonely landlady who rents a storefront to a stage company director and the aftermath of a couple's breakup. The black-and-white digital photography is the only truly gritty element, and aside from Tera Dunlap, appealingly natural as the fighter's girlfriend, the actors are too theatrical. Jamroz's limited budget works against him—he has to cheat on key scenes like the boxer's climactic bout. Don't write it if you can't shoot it. 102 min.