Southpaw maybe a melodrama and has all the boxing movie cliches but it will keep you hooked up due to the amazing performances and great music.
The powerful boxing scenes where you can actually smell the blood of the boxers and vividly shot scenes from Madison Square Garden to Vegas make this movie worth it. Add Gyllenhaal’s virtuoso performance with scars, tattoos and slurred voice on the ropes and voila you have an Oscar winner for 2016.
Southpaw gives us everything we want in a boxing movie : a match, a light heavyweight champion of the world, Billy Hope, being rooted by his beautiful wife and promoter from ringside. Then a lot of beating until the champ gets his opponent right where he wanted, BOOM! Knockout! That’s pretty much what happens here.
Later, at their estate, we see Billy bond with his daughter, Leila, but then tragedy strikes as his wife Maureen gets shot by an opponent’s guy. Billy’s downfall begins as he loses everything, including his home, his boxing title, his boxing license and custody of Leila. That’s when he turns to boxing trainer Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker), who owns a gym in Harlem and specializes in helping troubled kids.
Southpaw is not an extraordinary movie but it is a great performance piece, not just for Gyllenhaal and Whitaker but also for young Oona Laurence, who practically upstages Gyllenhaal’s remarkable work with her earnest, heartbreaking presence as the young Leila.