Thursday, 27 August 2015

Week 31: Southpaw

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer:    Kurt Sutter
Seen:     Sunday 9th August
Snacks:  Fizzy water :O
Mood:     No guts no glory!

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Ok, here’s the thing, I LOVE boxing films. I own all the Rocky films (yes even Rocky Balboa), I loved The Wrestler and The Fighter but my boxing film hero definitely lies with the dulcet tones of Sylvester! Therefore, I was pretty excited about seeing this film, add the bonus of having Jake Gyllenhaal (who I think is a great actor - see Nightcrawler) as the erstwhile Billy Hope and I’M IN (as people say).
I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The trailer gave away way too much about the film, what could have been a nice twist with his wife played by Rachel McAdams was laid out bare in the trailer leaving Southpaw to just follow the ‘formula’ for all boxing films, an inevitable slump before a triumphant return. I guess what I am trying to say is that it didn’t offer anything original or that hadn’t been done before.
The role of Billy Hope was originally offered to Eminem who turned it down and I am afraid I couldn’t shake the feeling that Gyllenhaal was just trying to act like Eminem, there was a bit too much mumbling and tough guy-ness that I don't think really worked for him. I in no way think this is Gyllenhaal's fault, he did the best with what he was given and the physical transformation he went through is very impressive…..but I don’t think this role was really for him. Rachel McAdams is also slightly miscast as a street kid done good. The stand out performance would go to Oona Laurence as Billy’s daughter Leila (great name spelt the wrong way though :) ) who is a very believable and competent young actress.

Southpaw then is in no way a masterpiece, its pretty predictable and a bit schmaltzy BUT

on the plus side the music is very good with Eminem contributing a few songs instead of starring and the actual boxing scenes are very realistic and gritty. Even though I know this film isn’t the best boxing film there is (ROCKY!!!) I still watched the end fight and felt a surge of energy to go join a grimy gym and throw a few jabs at a frozen carcass or pull a sledge in russia through the snow……….oh wait that’s Rocky again :).

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