Southpaw is a very emotional ride, following the story of a great boxer, who after being on top of the world, is facing difficulties and obstacles along the way as his tries to overcome them and regain his prior mental integrity.
Jake Gyllenhaal is in the lead of the movie, and he proves to be a real force of acting, as he once again masterfully portrays another complicated character with his dynamic performance. Gyllenhaal is physically transformed for this role, but he doesn’t stop at the physical side of things, he also manages to embody the mental side of his character (similar to his work in Nightcrawler) and proves himself as the best aspect of the movie. Forest Whitaker is also great, as the support to Gyllenhaal, and the two of them work great together on screen, feeding off and bettering each other in the process.
There isn’t a lot in the film that we haven’t experienced before, in terms of plot and characters. However Antoine Fuqua is too smart to let that harm the essence of the movie. He lets the best means at his disposal, his actors, show their worth by giving them more than enough to work with and by complimenting them the best he can, with some impressing camera work. The boxing is captured as good as I have ever seen, with the audience being at the heart of things and without relying on cheap techniques, like shaky cameras and the changing of angles in order to make it look realistic.
Overall it’s a movie worth watching, due to the heartfelt acting by amazing its actors, a stunning piece of music score by James Horner and a very smart directing by Antoine Fuqua, which makes this a very good and absorbing movie, despite its linear storytelling and common premise.