Howdy people of the internet, time for another film review and today I’ll finally be talking about Southpaw. I’ve been interested in this film for a while but have only recently got around to seeing it. I’d heard it was good but not amazing, so that did hamper my excitement for the film, but I knew I had to at least give it a chance before it left the cinema. So was the film good or bad? Well read on and find out!
The story can be described as the following:
“Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.”
The story was a really engaging and dramatic tale of tragedy and redemption. For the first half hour I liked the film but it was heading down a really dark path and I wasn’t really down with the depressing nature of story. However things started to pick up around half way through and by the end I was feeling good. I will say that the film felt a little long and some of the plot points you can see coming, that being said this film was entertaining and dramatic on the emotional level.
Now let’s talk about the performances. Jake Gyllenhaal just kills it as Billy Hope, at first I wasn’t too keen on his character because while he was charismatic and funny, he’s a bit of douche, self-centered and makes questionable decisions that make him a bit unlikable. That being said when he went do his downward spiral and then had to had to change his life around you really get behind him and relate to his motivations. Gyllenhaal continues to impress as an actor as he goes from strength to strength to change himself physically and mentally for his roles, and here he’s just a beast, so crazy and intense, but also very isolated and emotional too. I also loved Forest Whitaker as Titus “Tick” Wills. I like how he was more than just a mentor to Billy but he also had his own history and issues, and he wasn’t just tough with his personality but could also be tough physically too. The other standout performance came from Oona Laurence as Leila Hope, at first I thought he character may be a little annoying because while I understand the nature of situation would lead her to feel very emotional and aggressive, I can’t stand grumpy/whiny children. However Laurence did the opposite, I bought into her character, loved the dynamic she had with her dad and really liked the realism and emotional levels of her performance. Rachel McAdams was good as Maureen Hope while Naomie Harris added some great elements as Angela Rivera and Victor Ortiz as Ramone was a douche for sure, but he was a very cool, smug and badass douche which was played well by Ortiz. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Jordan Mains was also pretty good, he was an interesting character who appears to be Billy’s friend, but is mainly in the business for the money and has some really shady motives. And finally Rita Ora surprised me as she was totally unrecognisable as Maria Escobar and while her role was short I thought he kind rather well.
And when it comes to the visual side of things it’s incredible. I have seen a good few films depict the art of boxing with some that do it well and some not so well. This film is definitely the former. I think this may be the best one so far, the fights are choreographed so well. The way the cinematography is handled is gorgeous, everything is so clear and sharp, and I liked how there was a combination of point of view, close-ups and slow motion and tracking shots to show the action in varied and exciting ways, and thanks to the sound editors you feel every punch, there’s weight and impact. The soundtrack by the late James Horner was haunting and pretty dramatic and while it had its moments it’s not one of my favourite score from Horner.
In conclusion Southpaw was a gripping and intense drama with really awesome acting, an interesting story and some really kick ass boxing scenes. The film was better than I expected and I’m glad I got to see it.
So what do you think of the teaser trailer for Southpaw? Are interested in this film and do you feel like the trailer has given away too much? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below, until the next time, laters! 😀