Cert: 15 Runtime: 123 mins Director: Anton Fuqua Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Oona Laurence, Rachel McAdams, 50 Cent, Naomie Harris and Forest Whittaker
A fighter knows only one way to work
Jake Gyllenhaal is the best actor of his generation by far. He proves it over and over again from Zodiac to Nightcrawler recently, Southpaw is his latest film and man he looks hench. He is going down the Christian Bale road now with the bulking up and loosing weight etc. When I saw the first Southpaw trailer it seemed ok nothing special just another boxing movie. But what lured me in really was Gyllenhaal, if he wasn’t in the film I wouldn’t of bothered watching this. So what is Southpaw about? Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a boxer at the peak of his fame who has nevertheless decided to announce his retirement. However, Billy’s world is shattered when his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is killed in a car accident. Subsequently spiralling into a cycle of self-destruction, his young daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) is then taken into protective custody. Billy’s only shot at redemption is to climb back into the ring for one final bout. Working with personal trainer ‘Tick’ (Forrest Whitaker), Billy sets out to prove himself and be reunited with his daughter.
Southpaw is your typical Boxing genre movie but rather making something original and unique it plays the stereotype well. We have all the clichés of a Rocky movie with the style of Raging Bull. Anton Fuqua has done a brilliant job in making Southpaw the best boxing film for a very long time. It’s a very basic plot of redemption and a man trying to build his life up. For me it was very emotional and gripping, the trailer did ruin the film a bit for me so I’d try and avoid it if possible. Anton Fuqua brought a very interesting twist to the fight sequences by using POV. We were the boxer we reacted to each punch, dip and dive. It gave Southpaw a very unique twist even the slow motion shots were fantastic especially in the end fight. The main issue with Southpaw is it’s predictability you just know what will happen next. It has some very slow pacing too some segments were slightly boring and dull. The montage scene was very corny, I understand the whole Eminem connection but damm that song sucks fluffy donkey balls.
Jake Gyllenhaall is nothing but brilliant as Billy Hope. His physical transformation from Nightcrawler to Everest to Southpaw is impressive (he is pulling a Bale). There is more to his performance than his body change, his mannerisms, ticks and tone were very different and Billy Hope could beat Rocky any day in my opinion. I doubt he will get any awards buzz for this but his fan-base will be growing even more now. Oona Laurence out shines Gyllenhaall as his daughter. She wasn’t the cute little girl you expect, she was strong, ferocious and determined. This was supporting actress material, if she continues like this she will be a star of the future. Rachel McAdams has found her groove again me thinks she is electrifying in True Detective. She is brilliant as Maureen in Southpaw she is the glue that binds the family together and the heart of the film. Honourable mention to Forrest Whittaker here one of his best roles in a while. With Fuqua’s style and a great calibre of cast Southpaw is one of my favourite films of 2015 so far. Go watch it and try and avoid the trailers.