I have just come home from a viewing of Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal and in my mind at this moment it is imperative that I record my findings. Why? Because it was phenomenal. There have been numerous epic boxing blockbusters (Rocky Balboa comes to mind immediately) and there is always something so raw and authentic about them that captures our hearts. In my opinion, Southpaw has managed to raise the bar again for these movies because I couldn’t find a single flaw in it.
Right from the start, the music takes you straight into the atmosphere of Billy Hope’s character, his life, his surroundings, his emotions. You forget that this is just an actor playing the part, you believe you are being shown this man’s story. When the plot thickens there’s no shying away from the reality of it. You’re not forced to believe who is the good guy and who’s the bad, you’re left deciding that on your own and in a way this is somewhat refreshing and exhilarating… But all the while your mind never leaves the story, your eyes are always focused on the screen and you watch right till the end being swept along in every ocean of emotion that is intended.
I’ve mentioned how the music takes you straight into the world of the characters and this is constant throughout. The producers hit the nail on the head with when to have music playing and when not to but it’s not the only thing they’ve hit the nail on the head with. The cinematography is also excellent. Inevitably you would expect in a boxing movie for there to be lots of movement and fast action panning etc. So of course there is, but the producers have taken this up a notch with the angles and first person shots used in the fights inside the ring, you’ll understand it when you see it.
So that’s all about the production but what about the actual story, is that good enough? Yes. The storyline is something that you can predict but since it has been captured so beautifully you don’t notice until it’s over. In fact it’s so much better knowing what’s going to happen because the excitement lies in finding out how it will be carried out. There is an equal amount of unpredictable events also and these are even more exciting because again you’re swept up by the emotions that you didn’t see coming.
Finally the acting, while I think the acting deserves a whole page dedicated to it, at the same time I feel like there are just no words to describe how well directed and how professionally developed these actors are. Each one of them make you believe that they are the character they play and that’s really what the main purpose of acting is so I’d say they’ve done what they were supposed to do… They’ve just done it particularly better than usual.
Also, who doesn’t love Jake Gyllenhaal? Yeah… No-one and you’ll love him even more after watching this.