Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) had it all, but as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down. Unfortunately for Billy, it all comes crumbling down faster than his rise to fame.
My thoughts on the film
It’s fair to say I’ve been ecstatic to see Southpaw since the trailer was released (watch the trailer I attached below and let me know your thoughts). However, my expectations started to come back down to reality when I started seeing small advertisements at the bottom of a TV show or when they plastered a bunch of marketing into a UFC or boxing event. Something didn’t sit right. The amount of marketing behind a film tends to give you a good sense of how good the film is going to be. Maybe I’m crazy or I’m overthinking it, but putting all that aside, where does Southpaw land? Let’s just say it throws a heavy haymaker.
Southpaw was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who is known for directing Shooter, The Equalizer and the great Training Day. He has a unique visionary style and when teamed up with a solid actor, specifically Denzel Washington in two of the three films mentioned, the film is bound to be a very good. I’m not knocking Mark Wahlberg though, I enjoyed Shooter, but Washington is on a whole other level and there’s no denying that. This time Fuqua has teamed with Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously. I don’t know what else he needs to do to win an Oscar. He’s the next Leonardo DiCaprio. Gyllenhaal, in my opinion, has been on a tear recently: Nightcrawler, Prisoners and End of Watch are some of the latest films in which he has been great. Enemy was alright and I have no idea why he did Accidental Love, but all in all, he’s definitely in that top tier of best actors.
Southpaw also stars Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Whitaker stands out a bit, but I can’t say the same for McAdams or 50 Cent.
As mentioned earlier, director Antoine Fuqua has a unique visionary style and he certainly brought it to the table in Southpaw. There’s a bit of quick camera movements and some shaky camera scenes, so it might be a tad annoying for some moviegoers, but overall, I enjoy different camera movements, especially if it adds to the realism of the scenes. The action shots were on point, which they really need to be since it is a boxing film.
The storyline is nothing to write home about. It’s your typical “the hero falls and he gets back up” story. If you’ve seen the trailer, well, you know exactly what is going to happen, but even if you haven’t seen the trailer, you can guess what is going to happen. However, you really forget how generic the storyline is because Southpaw is probably the most intense film you will see in quite some time. The intensity level is high right from the get-go and it stays there. Yes, it really does stay there for the entire film. I actually felt like I needed a breather at some point, but it just kept going.
Fun fact: Apparently Eminem was originally scouted for the role, but he wanted to focus on his music career, so the options came down to Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. Thank goodness it was Gyllenhaal.
Southpaw, in my books, is just as good as Warrior. Enough said.
If you’re the type of person who watches trailers when trying to decide on what film to watch that day, just take my word and watch Southpaw. The trailer does spoil quite a bit, so if it’s fresh in your mind, you might be a tad disappointed when you watch the film a few hours later.
Southpaw hits theatres this Friday, July 24th.