Thursday, July 23, 2015
The violent and devious world of boxing is revealed in Jake Gyllenhaal's Southpaw.
Review by Matt CummingsIf you were one of the millions of people who forked over $100 in hopes of watching that 'fight of the century' between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, you were probably disappointed at the men's dance that occurred in its place. It's sad to admit that American professional boxing is perhaps in its darkest hour, ruined by promoters who laugh all the way to their huge payouts, and supported with questionable behavior by boxers that borders on the practiced routines of the WWE. At least this summer gives us the very good Southpaw, although it's a bit long and entirely predictable. The Equalizer, proving that nice guy Robert McCall did have his demons to shed. In Southpaw, he puts Gyllenhaal through the physical and mental ringer, turning him in a muscle-bound machine with a weight as big as McCall's. Gyllenhaal continues to make great films - although no one at MPAS seems to notice - bringing life to his characters regardless of the challenges. Here, he inhabits the punch drunk Billy with both a sense of gladiatorial ferocity and weariness, as if both are tearing him away from himself. The only thing keeping him from descending permanently into chaos is Leila, played convincingly by Laurence. Perhaps the most difficult of the child roles we've seen this year, Leila forces Billy to atone for her mother's death in a very simple way: prove your worthiness to me. That results in several very good scenes between them, including an exchange in the orphanage that will leave your heart broken. Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.