Culture Street

Film

Review: Southpaw

On August 18, 2015

DF-11384By Sophia Whitfield

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) drew on his own experience as a boxer for his latest film Southpaw.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Billy "The Great" Hope, reigning Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Jake Gyllenhaal has bulked up in an epic physical transformation to play the boxer. Billy Hope seemingly has it all with an impressive career, a beautiful and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence) and a lavish lifestyle. When tragedy strikes and his lifelong manager and friend (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) leaves him behind, Hope loses everything he holds dear.

When Hope is at his lowest point Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer at a run-down local gym, takes Hope on, attempting to build him back up to his former glory days. With his future riding on Tick's guidance and tenacity, Billy enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves.

Fuqua enlisted the services of legendary trainer and fight choreographer Terry Claybon to assist with the boxing scenes. A former professional fighter who won three Golden Glove Championships and retired undefeated, Claybon has worked with some of entertainment’s biggest names, including Denzel Washington and Kevin Spacey, Claybon also has a role in the film as T, assistant to Forest Whitaker’s character Tick Willis.

Gyllenhaal gives an outstanding performance as Billy Hope. His role as a father is staggeringly real. Gyllenhaal commented on the film:
“The thing that intrigued me from the get-go was the idea that Billy’s a guy who has gotten by on his rage and his own anger – made a career out of it, had great success and made lots of money from it. That anger can actually indirectly destroy you. Ultimately for me ... this is a story about a man coming to grips with his own anger, and the idea of what it is to be a father.”

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