Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhall) is a champion boxer. He has it all, the mansion, fast cars and the beautiful wife. Things keep on getting better for the blood thirsty wreckless fighter. His fight promoter Jordan Mains ( Curtis “50 cent” Jackson) is ready to sign him to the most lucrative contract of his career.
When tragedy strikes suddenly the great Billy Hope is lost when Billy’s wife Maureen ( Rachael McAdams) is taken away from him in a hot headed fight involving his boxing rival.
Suddenly he goes from being a boxer with the world at his feet to a man lost and broken by the death of his wife. He loses focus, makes reckless choices eventually losing custody of his daughte Leila ( Oona Laurence). His life spirals out of control as he comes closer to the edge.
Only when he has hit rock bottom can Billy slowly begin the arduous climb back to the top. With the help of seasoned trainer Titus ‘Tick’ Wills ( Forest Whitacker) Billy must forget all he knows about boxing and begin again.
When a shot at the title becomes available and a chance to beat his rival the question is will Billy have what it takes to become the champion again and get his daughter back?
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Southpaw is not as such a boxing movie its more of a look at the triumph of the human spirit. Beautifully filmed it puts the viewer in the ring up close and personal with every punch. Fight scenes are almost artistic with intelligent use of slow motion in all the right places.
Versatile actor Gyllenhall is brilliant as the reckless boxer who must learn to live without his wife. He evokes pathos and the viewer can’t help but feel sorry for him as his life goes downhill drawing you into his deep pain.
Whitacker steps into the role of the trainer who seems to have just a little more under the surface than he lets on and is exceptional to watch. As the sleazy promoter Jackson is cast rather well and manages to hold his own with such a star laden cast.
Whilst essentially it is a boxing movie, Southpaw is at times an emotional laden movie that lands a few punches of its own.