Entering into the ring, Jake Gyllenhaal plays boxer and father Billy Hope. Hope is a prized fighter in and out of the ring, but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect. Southpaw attempts to document the inner and outward struggles Hope faces as he enters a crucial turning point in his life. He has choices to make that end up determining what he gets out of life and what he is going to do with what he’s earned so far.
Hope is a father, a caring father. He only wants what’s best for his little girl, even if he has to fight to his death to achieve it. He battles the persona of this fighter who loses often times loses control and the grip he once had on life. One thing after another goes wrong in his life like a domino effect and he is forced to face the reality in which he is placed, but by doing so can ultimately achieve his goal of redemption. There is always hope.
The cast here is excellent, and Gyllenhaal brings his A game like always. Rachel McAdams is stunning. She picks her character apart from head to toe and adapts a huge sense of surrealism to the silver screen. Forest Whitaker takes on the role of Hope’s trainer and coach. These characters abandon all simplicity and give Southpaw the depth and gravity it needed for it to be something that’s never been before. It’s not your standard boxing movie, but something much much more. You give attached, if not to the protagonist, then to the epic that he is slaved to endure for the sake of another. He is the hero, but not to be thought of as legend, for that is when he will always fall short. Thus is the contention for his suffering.
You also get some cool cameos from celebrities of the boxing and fighting world, along with Curtis Jackson making his way out of the red. But in all seriousness, he takes on his roles well and so do all the other fighters.
You are going to enjoy this film directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) and he brings his touch of deep foreboding darkness to each and every part, the acting, cinematography, and story. It’s an intensity unparalleled and it will put you on the edge of your seat.
But with every boxing movie comes the montage. And much of the soundtrack was completed with the oversight of Marshall Mathers, which does more good than harm, but can be rough around the edges. But those rough edges are more like sharp corners and tough jabs that ultimately make this boxing movie stand out among the rest.
Go check out Southpaw in theaters now and figure out for yourself the metaphorical dilemma of life in which we all face but in different forms. See what you’re in for with the official trailer below: