Review Jake-Gyllenhaal-southpaw-movie

Published on July 26th, 2015 | by Allan Brown


Southpaw Review


Movie Review: Southpaw (2015)southpaw-2015-movie-poster

Running Time: 123 minutes

Rating: 15

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writers: Kurt Sutter

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, Naomie Harris

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Southpaw (2015) comes at you with a flurry of emotion and technique, but is Antoine Fuaqua’s (Training Day, The Equalizer) boxing drama the next Raging Bull or more Rocky 5?

jake-gyllenhaal-rachel-mcadams-southpaw-2015 We follow slugger Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) at the height of his boxing career as he, once again, defends his status in the ring as the undefeated light-heavyweight champion of the world.  Although Billy wins his latest fight, he endures quite a beating in the process, which does not go unnoticed by his dotting wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams). Scared that irreparable damage is only a fight or two away, Maureen tries to convince Billy to hang up his gloves for good.  However, as Billy ponders his options, a sudden tragedy strikes, turning Billy’s perfect world upside-down.

Having lost everything; his family, close friends and his career, Billy finds himself thrust into a world of depression and grief without any sign hope. To climb out of the darkness that surrounds him, Billy must get back on his feet and with the help of an old fashioned no-nonsense boxing coach (Forest Whitaker), must redeem himself and save his family before it’s too late.

A boil-in-the-bag boxing drama enriched by a compelling central performance.

Southpaw follows the well-trodden path of nearly every boxing film that has come before.  It charts an all too familiar protagonist on top of the world, before the cataclysmic fall from grace. The predictable route through themes of loss and grief soon follow, before the slow and steady climb to redemption and inevitable rousing climax- the staple of all good crowd pleaser’s.

Oona-Laurence-jake-gyllenhaal-southpawDespite Southpaw being rather unoriginal, its screenplay littered with clique after clique (his name is hope, need I say more?), and plot points thrown to the side or abandoned (the investigation surrounding his wife’s death and the shooter being a member of his opponents entourage) in favour for the more generic formula, Southpaw still manages to compel and excite.

This is down to the films strong emotional backbone and the exceptional central performances that somehow manage to transcend the genre and its formulaic approach.

Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) once again impresses in the supporting roles. They are accompanied by young Oona Laurence (Penny Dreadful) who turns in a sincere and  heart-rending performance as Billy’s daughter Leila. But it is Jake Gyllenhaal who once again steals the show, delivering another transformative powerhouse performance, bringing real gruff and genuinity to this otherwise Hollywood affair.

Despite the narrative lacking ambition, Southpaw delivers a strong emotional punch and the chemistry between its key characters is enough to fill the cracks visible elsewhere in the film.

Southpaw Review Allan Brown


Summary: A boil-in-the-bag boxing drama enriched by a compelling central performance.


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About the Author

Despite my 9-5 being consumed by the daily duties of an Electrician, Movie Review World serves as a platform for me to share my thoughts, explorations and reflections on one of my biggest passions, film.

2 Responses to Southpaw Review

  1. Richard says:

    Agreed mate. This is a typical Hollywood affair. I seem to find these films a kind of guilty pleasure. Standard formula, rags to riches (or in this case riches to rags) story, but an exciting and occasionally inspiring picture. Very much enjoyed this film even though it was nothing new. Gyllenhaal is on fire right now.

    • Allan Brown says:

      Hey mate. Yeah despite its well trodden path I surprisingly enjoyed it too. Gyllenhaal is the man, I hope he continues to stretch himself as he’s been doing a fine job of this acting game lately

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