Southpaw is an uncomplicated sports genre movie combining boxing with recovery/redemption, which has been done in many various ways before but still, Southpaw is definitely an important movie of its genre.
My favourite thing about the movie was Jake Gyllenhaal. His performance as Billy Hope was very convincing and moving. It is a rewarding experience to watch Gyllenhaal slip into the boxer’s skin – he juggles the aspects of being a husband, a father, a defeated man and then a man recovering really well. The story isn’t spectacular. It is fairly predictable, in fact, but Gyllenhaal’s acting makes all the difference. It isn’t an outstanding movie, all things considered, and if sports drama isn’t a person’s favourite genre, they can easily give it a miss. That is why I hadn’t watched it even after hearing it was worth a watch. There are too many testosterone-ridden predictable sports dramas. Why one more?
But after watching a string of movies with excellent Gyllenhaal performances (my most favourite from the recent years is Nocturnal Animals), I watched Southpaw out of sheer respect for Gyllenhaal’s skills and I wasn’t disappointed.
Matching Gyllenhaal’s skills is Forest Whitaker. His role, dialogues, history, personality – everything is quite predictable. Yet, Whitaker’s performance is a delight, done just right.
I have nothing to stay about any other aspect of the movie because nothing else stands out.
Later, I learnt that the movie was supposed to star Eminem and tell his story in the metaphor of boxing.
And then, of course, everything made sense. It is basically Eminem’s story of Recovery and that is why Eminem is on the soundtrack. I love Eminem. I loved the experience of watching this movie in a self indulgent, nostalgic, mindless kind of way. It is a good movie to wind down with, if the genre you’re looking for is sports drama. If you’re looking for yet another delightful Jake Gyllenhaal performance, then this is definitely something to look out for.
Otherwise, it is all very gimmicky. If the gimmicks are to your taste, then it will certainly be worth a watch.