27 Aug 2015

Southpaw - film review

From At The Movies, 7:35 pm on 27 August 2015

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams

Simon Morris reviews boxing drama Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, and Forrest Whitaker, and finds the old boxing movie still has legs.

Southpaw is a standard boxing movie, but it’s one with better credentials than I was expecting.

Compared to its towering predecessors, it’s an expertly-made B-movie perhaps, rather than a timeless classic. The elements we expect to see: corrupt managers, Billy Hope’s (Gyllenhaal) reckless behaviour and the lives of the kids at Forrest Whitaker’s gym - are slightly glossed over. But the performances fill in the gaps in the script. Unlike many recent, bigger films, there’s a lot of heart underpinning the action. But it resists the temptation to lay on the sentiment with a shovel.

It’s to the credit of director Antoine Fuqua that, having picked the right actors, he stays out of their way and lets them get on with it.  

Expect to see Southpaw figure in next year’s Academy Awards. Let’s face it, Oscar has always loved a great boxing movie!

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