- Nerdbot Original Article
Could this be the next greatest boxing movie?
When I first heard about this movie I asked myself that question. After all, their leading man Jake Gyllenhaal, an arguably Oscar level actor, is coming off an amazing performance in Nightcrawler. Add the talents of Rachel McAdams, Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) into the mix and this movie is off to a good start.
We find Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) at the top of his career. He is the Lightweight Champion whom came up to fame from nothing. Hope along with his wife Maureen (McAdams) were orphans raised in the system. Because of their upbringing Billy is motivated to give his wife and daughter (played by Oona Laurence) a better life. Soon after his latest victory tragedy strikes the Hope family and a seemingly good life is turned upside-down, alliances are severed and peoples true colors are brought out into the light.
Jake Gyllenhaal under goes another drastic transformation for his role as Billy Hope. I don’t personally know the man, but if I had to guess he got in the best shape of his life for this film. This makes all his physically demanding scenes more realistic and believable. Throughout the film you see Gyllenhaal’s acting range, the changes that he makes in tone, in his persona, when it comes to dealing with someone in the ring or when he interacts with his daughter at night when he puts her to bed. Gyllenhaal’s outstanding performance deserves recognition and only time will tell if he gets it. The dynamic that goes on between Gyllenhaal and Oona Laurence is also great. The way their father-daughter relationship is portrayed translates well on screen. Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker also give good performances. Nothing against their acting ability but they are overshadowed by Jake Gyllenhaal.
While it might not be the next greatest boxing movie, overall Southpaw is OK as a film sometimes it can feel slow and predictable but Gyllenhaal knocks this role out of the park. Which is why Southpaw, gets a 7.5 out of 10.