Although swaying on the edge of cliché, Boxer’s long-lived passion for French film and poetry betrays the motivation behind the writers’ choices for his character. He oscillates back and forth from the remorseless murder to the sensitivity of Nouvelle Vague and Charles Baudelaire, only to make his intense persona obsessively desirable and capture our naturally trusting, naive hearts, forever-searching for a bad boy turned good. Within this so often romanticised interplay of tenderness and brutality, the multiplicity of Boxer’s character reaches beyond his seemingly unbreakable armour that dissipates suddenly upon Zoe’s arrival. His words and actions reveal more about him than his shell, yet his skin also carries powerful insight - the code to Boxer.
The tattoo on the right side of his neck is an adaptation of a quote from Breathless (1960), a French Nouvelle Vague film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, that Boxer shows to Zoe as the movie that exposed his soft side in the form of self-discovery. White Lines gain a deeper dimension when the dynamics between Boxer and Zoe subtly reference the film, painting parallels of tenderness, adventure, lies, love, and fear. [Patricia] – Écoute. La dernière phrase, c'est très beau : "Between grief and nothing. I will take grief". Entre le chagrin et le néant, je choisis le chagrin... Et toi, tu choisirais quoi ? [Michel] – [...] Le chagrin, c'est idiot. Je choisis le néant. C'est pas mieux, mais le chagrin, c'est un compromis. Faut tout ou rien. »
[Patricia] - “Listen. The last sentence, it’s very beautiful: “Between sorrow and nothing. I will take sorrow”. And you, what would you choose?” [Michael] - “Sorrow is silly. I would choose nothing. It’s no better, but sorrow is a compromise. All or nothing.” Next to a character as polarised as Boxer, it will always be all or nothing, where Zoe seems to be the one to fight the everlasting battle between yes and no.
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