Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence,Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
2015 / 124 Minutes / The Weinstein Company
Southpaw tries really hard to be the movie everyone expected it was going to be. The intense dramatic performances and the fights could have been Oscar gold. Sadly it’s a disappointment. This was one of the movies of the summer I was really looking forward too (even though the awful marketing and trailer for this movie ruined it).
The movie starts off on a high note and I really got into it. The first 30 minutes is a great movie, but then all of the sudden the second act falls apart and goes in the wrong direction. The focus shifts between his little girl and putting his life back together, but neither gets the amount of time it deserves. Rachel McAdams who is really quite great, is the main reason the first act is so good. Her character was interesting and she kept the story moving. I wanted the movie to be about her. She has an intense great scene that I don’t want to spoil, but if you’ve seen the trailer you already know what happens. I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t, but she’s terrific in this.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is great as he always is. I watched this thinking about his performance in Nightwatcher and thought about his transformation and how actually incredible of an actor he is. He becomes his characters in every way. However, as great as his performance is, it’s the script that I think is hurting him and holding him back and making him overdo it slightly. It’s high on melodrama that at times works, but for the most part I found it going too far which made for plot holes and questions. It’s obvious that there were storylines cut, there were too many questions and moments I wasn’t buying. There were little side stories that completely didn’t matter. The kid ‘Hoppy’, you don’t matter and any inclusion of that very small storyline should have been removed. If you’re not going to make it a bigger focus then why do I care?
Southpaw had such potential to be a great movie, instead it’s a mediocre good movie. The fault maybe lies in a script that loses focus or maybe it happened in the editing room, but something got lost along the way and instead we’re left with this average film with great performances.
Here’s the spoiler filled trailer, watch at your own risk.