Director Antoine Fuqua shoots the boxing scenes in long takes and gives us full body shots that look painfully real. What a shame that it's all in service of a plot that's utterly predictable from start to finish. Melodramatic and manipulative, this is no Raging Bull.
Gyllenhaal too is curiously disappointing, more caught up in his own character, with its tattoos, its constantly puffed eye and its mumbled speaking, than in genuine contact with either the people around him or his audience. There are many scenes of Billy and his daughter Leila, but never do you sense the desperation he constantly professes to feel to get her back.
With a heartening story in tow, the film transforms a regular tale of suffering, loss and redemption extraordinarily. Though laden with cliches, it is consistently hard-hitting and never loses plot. The right blend of heart and skill works in suffusing an operatic feel to the movie which is an absolute knockout.
Bleed, sweat and jab with Billy Hope through his downfall and rise. Watch this boxing drama for Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker.
The average script rises above the ordinary because one, the direction and two the acting. You care about Billy Hope because of the conviction with which Gyllenhaal essays the role. Whether it is the physical looks of a boxer or emoting desperation about his daughter, he is brilliant.
Ultimately it's a story of hope and redemption, and on a simplistic level, it works. It's not the best movie, but it's harmless and well acted for sure. Given Gyllenhaal's physical transformation for the role, a better-written movie would have been more worthy.
The film could have been an intense character based drama, but doesn’t end up being more than a simplistic and underexplored story of a damaged family man. It relies too heavily on Gyllenhaal’s shoulders and it’s a testament to the actor’s talent that he makes it (more or less) watchable.
Though Southpaw brings nothing new, Jake Gyllenhaal’s acting prowess is on full display as the vengeful boxer. Southpaw leads with both hands, bringing blood and sweat onto the screen.