Where There's Hope
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) was 43 - 0 and had everything going for him with a huge mansion, a wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams) and daughter, Leila (Oona Laurence), who loved him dearly. But a devastating accident leads to Billy sinking in to a depression and becoming suicidal with things coming to a head when his daughter is put into care and he loses his home. Now Billy has a new fight on his hand as he needs to prove he can be a father if he is going to get his daughter back and that starts with getting things right in the ring with the help of trainer Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker).
Do you know why the "Rocky" movies were so entertaining? It is because every movie had multiple levels to them whilst having that underdog element leading to mostly a triumphant conclusion. And that is exactly what you get in "Southpaw" a storyline which in truth would have worked perfectly as part of the "Rocky" franchise back in the day. As such "Southpaw" is not a complicated movie as we have the champ sinking in to a depression due to a devastating event and we watch as he rebuilds his life from rebuilding himself as a fighter with the help of a small gym owner to rebuilding his relationship with his daughter.
But as I said "Southpaw" has multiple levels and plenty of depth as we watch Billy sink it despair as everything in his life is taken away from him and the only way he knows hot to react is with anger. As such we do get to see a man pretty much rebuild himself, learning to control his anger and take on new ideas whilst becoming close to his new trainer and the young men he trains. On the subject of which we also get character depth when it comes to Tick as we learn of his own bitterness when it comes to professional boxing and those who profit off of the blood shedding of others. I know I sound like a broken record but all of this feels like it could have been a "Rocky" movie and it is because we have this character depth, relationships and conflicts which makes it feel like the whole package and some thing worthy of more than one watch.
Of course "Southpaw" is a boxing movie and we have the left right of various training scenes and of course the fighting scenes. But credit to Antoine Fuqua as he doesn't try to do anything new here giving us plenty of familiar training elements and camera work of the fights which allows us to feel like we are part of the crowd rather than in the ring being pummelled. And it works as we get the energy of the training and the sense of blood and sweat during those fight scenes.
What this all boils down to is that "Southpaw" is a great boxing movie and one which is sure to entertain many who have grown up watching the "Rocky" movies.
Tags: Boxing Movies