As tragedy strikes him in his prime, famed boxer, Billy Hope, begins to fall into a great depression. Once the decision regarding the custody of his daughter is under question, Billy decides to get his life back on track by getting back into the ring.
Nobody immerses himself in a role like Jake Gyllenhaal, and he pulls no punches in Antonie Fuqua’s intense boxing tale Southpaw.
Gyllenhaal is pound-for-pound one of the best physical actors in Hollywood at the momentCheck out his last five flicks: Source Code, End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy and Nightcrawler. A variety of roles and all great performances - robbed of an Oscar-nom at least for Nightcrawler – and he’s followed them up with another as boxer Billy Hope. Coming off his scrawny Nightcrawler frame, Gyllenhaal put in eight months of intense training and looks incredibly ripped and realistic as a boxer.
Gyllenhaal and Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker provide the one-two punch of this film, and their transformative journey together hooks you in. In what ends up a pretty formulaic redemption-boxing flick, it’s these two performances that really lift the picture and make you care. Rachel McAdams is solid (and sexy) for her brief screen time, but Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson is pretty clichéd as a promoter.
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) might get a little predictable at times – what boxing movie isn’t really - but he’s no amateur when it comes to immersing you in visceral boxing scenes. It’s not for the fainthearted, with bloody and brutal POV fights mixed with stunning choreography. Though he could have rung the bell a few rounds earlier as the running time feels longer than it’s two hours.
It’s a knockout soundtrack, with one of the last scores from double-Oscar winner James Horner (Titanic, Braveheart) and a powerful new track from Eminem, Phenomenal, that’s made for a training montage. This is the last film scored by James Horner, before dying in a plane crash on June 22, 2015. His last film in release, The 33, will be released later in the year.
While a pretty predictable - yet visceral - boxing redemption tale, it’s the knockout performances from Gyllenhaal and Whitaker that has Southpaw punching above its weight.
DVD Releases: 23rd December 2015
Rating: R16 - Contains violence and offensive language
Duration: 124 minutes
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence
Director: Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, Training Day)
The film was originally considered as an unofficial follow-up to the movie 8 Mile (2002) with Eminem reprising his role. The script eventually evolved and that idea was scrapped.
Antoine Fuqua had no money to pay James Horner to compose the film due to the films short budget. However, James didn't care as he loved the idea of the film and decided to do it for free.
Eminem was originally scouted for the role, which he accepted and started filming. The film had to be put on hold as Eminem wanted to focus on his music career, so the role was then given to Jake Gyllenhaal.
Kurt Sutter's first film script.
Jake Gyllenhaal studied Miguel Cotto's boxing style in order to develop his character.
The boxing scenes shot in Vegas and Madison square garden were all done at the same location over 2 weeks. Indiana university Purdue university Indiana (IUPUI) was used to simulate both fight locations.