Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Southpaw

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Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

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Cast

Jake Gyllenhaal – Billy Hope

Forest Whitaker – Titus “Tick” Wills

Rachel McAdams – Maureen Hope

Victor Ortiz – Ramone

Naomie Harris – Angela Rivera

Oona Laurence – Leila Hope 

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Now, That’s Acting

I have to say, even though Southpaw wasn’t my type of movie at all and I actually found it quite tedious, the casting was spot-on and very effective. But the main element powering this movie was Mr Gyllenhaal himself, his acting was absolutely incredible..

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From the opening scene all the way through to closing, Jake upheld a very strong performance. As Billy he ensured a gritty, raw, and at times worrying display of human emotions. Screaming, crying, hysterical laughing, howling, all added to his whirlwind character as he smashed his way round the set. It was all very impressive, I felt taken aback at points – sitting with my hand slightly over my mouth, eyes fixed on the screen. But this mean’t one thing: I was totally won over. Jake’s powerful performance kept me watching constantly and evoked my sympathy during certain scenes; I really felt for this guy who albeit an aggressive arsehole anyway, was having a rough ride in life.
Very rarely do I feel somewhat moved by a character during a movie, but this one was strong..

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Jake uses a generous amount of violence and total hatred during Southpaw, the man must have been exhausted by the end of filming.

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Boring

So the movie barrels along by use of a tense story, but ultimately it’s about an aggressive guy who boxes.
And spends 85% of the movie boxing.
So if you dislike boxing – avoid.

Southpaw displays the lead character’s issues in quite a gritty way, and at times I felt quite sympathetic towards him. But then I sat back and thought, “Southpaw has issues. But who DOESN’T?”, and the fact the bastard had a job he loved doing, a millionaire-style mansion and seemingly massive bank account to return to at the end of the day mean’t my sympathy was starting to slip. Had it not been for the intense sub-plot of Maureen (his wife) being killed and Gyllenhaal’s 122 minutes of solid, electric acting I would’ve exited the cinema early. Without these elements, Southpaw would have been just awful. It’s thanks to Jake I kept watching. The actor seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment, it’s good to watch.

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Her

I first saw her in 28 Days Later (2002)

screen-shot-2012-11-06-at-22-54-16I then spotted her in Skyfall (2012)

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She is now in Southpaw (2015)

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 18.57.15She gets around.

Naomie Harris.

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She makes an appearance in this movie as Child Protective Service officer Angela, a pillar of the law who in the end warms to Billy and becomes a close fan of his boxing matches (because these straight-laced law officials have to stray from their rank don’t they). The second she appeared on screen I recognised her. Thing is, I don’t reconise her often. The actress seems to play a main part in movies once every seven or eight years, as though she’s shit – but is wheeled in to fill a gap. Poor thing.
Thought I’d point this out.
Come on Naomie, get your arse to more auditions.

75
Southpaw is a raw portrayal of a boxer’s life as he spirals out of control. What Jake Gyllenhaal does is bring the character to life in a way only he can – with fire. Teeth-clenching facial expressions and screaming aplenty here as the actor delivers more than he should, it’s very impressive. But although faultless acting from all, the movie overall isn’t very exciting. Fights in the boxing ring, arguments in court rooms and backstage boxer banter mean Southpaw is just your average look into the life of aggressive men who take plesure in hurting other men.
If you’re a fan of boxing, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy Southpaw – if you’re not – steer well clear.

It’s actually hard for me to make a ‘bother or don’t bother’ decision on this feature due to Jake being so bloody good. It’s boring, but worth watching for a fantastic performance from its leading man.
I wouldn’t watch it again though, I’d be happy to pass it off as a ‘seen it’.
Yes, goodbye Southpaw. Well done Jake.

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2015 by .
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