Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Summary: After losing his wife in a freak accident(?), famous boxer Billy Hope screws his life up and needs get his life back on track.
My Thoughts: Having not seen a sports movie in just about forever, I was interested to see this take on a boxing flick because I have a feeling these are either hit or miss. This, my friend, was a complete hit. Although this movie has the feel of a typical Lifetime movie, McAdams' impeccable charm and Gyllenhaal's almost unbelievable hardness give it this sparkle that takes it a step above a typical dramatic lifetime movie. That and the higher budget and the camera angles and the fact I was sobbing like a goddamn baby.
This movie is beautiful and when I saw beautiful, I'm not just talking about Gyllenhaal's abs because while those are pretty must amazing, the camera work was visually pleasing. By that I mean, during the boxing scenes, it looks like HD Pay-Per-View with a twist. We get that sparkling HD quality of a boxing match, also equip with the little HBO label in the corner to make it more "official", but we also get the third person views from Jake's perspective that make it so that it doesn't look like we're watching just another fight.
Then there's the homeliness of the characters. It feels so natural and fluid when they're interacting with each other. Everyone stepped up their game and gave the movie life, which is another reason why I really enjoyed it so much. Because in all honesty, this kind of movie has been done time-and-time again, but the actors make it something different. They make you feel as if this is the first time you've seen this happen and you don't even realize it until you're chatting it up with your friends about the movie days later. Seriously, it's a giant cliche! Some big, tough guy, possibly an athlete has something traumatic happen to him to screw his life up and he's working so hard to get it together, but it's his attittude that's doing all the fucking up and you're rooting for him the whole time, hoping he doesn't screw up again and when he does, you're right there along for the ride. With most of those movies, you know what's going to happen from the get go, while I was watching Southpaw, I completely forgot about it. As I stated before Gyllenhall was tough and it surprised me. I almost couldn't believe it was him as this movie looked like it would be a better fit for someone else, but he rocked this role. He played it well as he shuffled through his shitstorm of a life trying to battle his demons while getting his ducks in a row. Southpaw had a lot of psychology to it that you could pinpoint and because it wasn't that kind of movie, you sort of overlooked it, but it was there. I wished they'd played on that aspect a bit more, but we can't always have what we want.
And while there are all these good things about this movie, there are some things that could've been better as in explanation, explanation. I know movies can only be so long and I'm nitpicking, but leaving the theatre, I had many questions. Who was Forest Whitaker's character to him? How did this happen? Why did he do that? Who is this character? So many things happened so fast without much explanation and while lots of people (i.e my friends) ignored it, it stuck with me. But I'm a movie reviewer, there's only so much I can forgive.
Overall, this movie is an experience. I've never seen Rocky, so I can't say if it's "OUR GENERATIONS ROCKY," but I can say it will be something you'll be thinking about long after you leave the theater. And it will also leave you wondering about Jake Gyllenhaal and just how wonderful of an actor he is. Can someone say "Oscar"?