FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Tonight I saw the movie “Southpaw,” which stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Source Code), Racheal McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Midnight in Paris), Forest Whitaker (Phenomenon, The Butler), Oona Lawrence (Penny Dreadful, Lamb), and 50 Cent (The Hangover, Real Steel). It is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, Training Day) and written by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy [TV series], The Shield [TV series]). Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) is a boxer on top of his game. He is undefeated, and still proves to be a talented boxer, but his wife Maureen (McAdams) thinks that he should take a break before he ends up taking too much damage from the fights. Billy plans to do this after his recent fight, but one night a tragedy happens, putting Billy on a spiral downward in his career and his life. He must rebuild his reputation as well as his stance in his family.
This was a release that interested me when I first saw the trailer for it over the Summer. Of course when a boxing movie comes into the playing field, you know what to expect: a boxer hits a low spot, he has to redeem himself, and the ending is usually in favor of the protagonist, all while providing a lesson. This film follows this same code, and while the code may be used a little too much, there are still aspects that can be worked on, and there are some high points in this release. Surprisingly enough, I really liked this. I didn’t think that it would be awful, but I knew it wouldn’t be completely original, so going into this, I expected something to just get by with in terms of entertainment. This movie impressed me, and there are a lot of key points that made that happen. For one, the story actually had some original parts. The character that is Billy Hope is someone I haven’t seen before in a boxing movie or sports film. Throughout half of its runtime, Hope seemed more like an antagonist to his own story than a protagonist, and I enjoyed that different take. It gives an even truer lesson when he has to gain redemption because, oh boy, he had some issues. He has anger management problems, he acts with little respect, and he can be a jerk at times. This brings a better sense of reality because not all heroes are perfect. What brought my mood down during this film though had to be the trailer. If you want to be surprised, then don’t watch the trailer, because it gives a spoiler that sets all of the events of this movie in motion. It wasn’t much of a shocker after I saw the trailer. Besides the plot, the acting was fantastic. Jake Gyllenhaal has proved himself worthy of being on my list of top actors. He was magnificent. I didn’t even see the actor but rather his character, and I am happy that he still provides great performances after his amazing entry of “Nightcrawler.” To see his transformation throughout the course of the movie was also something cool to see. All of the other actors were really good as well. Forest Whitaker did very well in his role (and he needed something good after “Taken 3”), and I liked Rachael McAdams as well. The boxing scenes were cool, with several shots to really captivate the punches. All of them were choreographed awesomely, and it was entertaining to watch. What took me aback the most in this film is how sad it can actually get. There were probably three scenes on the top of my head that made my eyes watery because of the mixture of great performances and the situation. These scenes really brought the story home and helped me connect to the characters better. When talking about cons, there aren’t many that I found I in this picture. Like I said before, a lot of aspects of this movie follow the same code as other boxing movies, so there was pressure to make room for originality. Other than that, the only other con on my mind would be the cussing. I’m not one for films with bad words, and this was no exception. There were quite a bit. The only thing that supported this was whenever Hope struggled to not curse when he was in Tick’s (Whitaker) gym (he has a “no cuss” policy). Overall, this was a great, entertaining flick that had awesome performances. It was well-rounded, good piece of cinematography. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: