Film of the Day (08/24/18): Southpaw

 

Written By Kurt Sutter
Directed By Antoine Fuqua

Sports movies, and specifically those about boxing, tend to follow a formula and have a certain amount of cliches. This is no different, but draws its strength not from its story, but its cast. Gyllenhaal (Billy Hope) is undoubtedly one of the best working actors of this era, and commits himself as fiercely to this role as those of his past films. Whitaker makes for a great corner man, even if his character feels lifted straight out of every other boxing movie. McAdams doesn’t have much to do with limited screen time, but maximizes her efforts in her scenes. The text that they are given is nothing great, but they lift the film into higher territory with their performances. I appreciated that Hope was fighting for his family and that regaining his former glory never felt like a concern. The drama is very high, which will probably feel emotionally-manipulative to some, but it’s those events that give Gyllenhaal so much to sink his teeth into. Overall, this is middle of the road movie for me, but still an enjoyable one.

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