Southpaw: Film Review

south1

Southpaw is probably best known for Jake Gyllenhaal’s shocking transformation into a ripped, tattooed boxer. While the way he looks and his performance is impressive, sadly there is less to rave about the rest of the film which adds nothing to the boxing/sporting genre.

Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope, a light heavyweight boxing champion who has been married to Maureen (Rachel McAdams) since they met as orphans aged 12. His whole world is turned upside down when he gets into a fight with a rival and Maureen is shot and he ends up in downward spiral of drugs, booze, debts and contemplating suicide. He loses custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) and he must get himself back on track with the help of new trainer Tick Wills (Forrest Whittaker) before they can be reunited.

Clearly you know from the outset what is going to happen, but we have sit through A LOT of relentless miserable scenes first. Maureen’s death did not have the impact it should have done because it was given away in the trailer, which I think was a silly move. It happens within the first half hour so you are not invested yet. From that scene, we are just hit by incessant bad things happening and it gets worse and worse and pretty damn depressing. Billy isn’t that likeable either – obviously he is still grieving his wife and hasn’t had to be a responsible adult with her around – but at times you want to smack him and make him work harder to get his daughter back.

That being said, everyone loves seeing a character get through their struggles to get back on top so I really started to like it when Billy gets his act together. Jake’s acting is impressive, although I preferred his performance in Nightcrawler, and his boxing skills, considering he had never done it before, were realistic to me. The fight scenes are great and by the time we get to the last one, I am so involved and cheering him on. I also thought his daughter was totally adorable.

Southpaw is not as amazing as Jake’s transformation would lead you to think. It doesn’t stand up amongst the great boxing movies, it relies on cliches and the characters and plot are nothing we haven’t seen before. However, I really started to enjoy it by the end, so don’t write it off completely.

In cinemas now 

Trackbacks

  1. […] All boxing movies seem to be about fighters overcoming adversity and unbelievable odds to emerge the winner and although Bleed For This follows this pattern, the obstacles Vinny faces feel bigger, more insurmountable than the personal life challenges recently seen in Creed and Southpaw. […]

  2. […] All boxing movies seem to be about fighters overcoming adversity and unbelievable odds to emerge the winner and although Bleed For This follows this pattern, the obstacles Vinny faces feel bigger, more insurmountable than the personal life challenges recently seen in Creed and Southpaw. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: