Visiting the IMDb’s trivia section after seeing the film makes so much sense. This boxing melodrama starring Jake Gyllenhaal has been written by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy and The Shield) and has its roots buried deep as a sort of parochial follow-up to Eminem’s 8 Mile, with Marshall Mathers in the lead role.
Yes, this makes sense. Of course it does. Directed by Antoine Fuqua so soon after The Equalizer and Olympus Has Fallen, Southpaw seems rushed and buried at its own disposal. The trailers reveal a mighty grit to the endeavour. It’s far too sloshy and miserable in general.
Sure, Gyllenhaal is very good in the lead role; clearly putting a lot of physical effort in to the recently bereaved and tormented fighter. The problem is that there’s no-one to root for. The culprit here is Sutter, who writes as if he’s eight years old with a crayon. The beats can be seen a mile off. It’s riches to rags to riches. Absolutely no surprises anywhere. It says something when your onscreen daughter manages to outshine you – Oona Laurence from Penny Dreadful is a scarily good actor and has a bright future ahead of her.
Everyone else is either wasted, appears too late to make much of a difference, or, worst still, phoning in their performance (McAdams, Whitaker and Fiddy Cent respectively). The film, much like its star character, has an almost regressive modular existence. It’s far too preoccupied with immediate stealth, and resolution – blindsided by its own narrow field of vision when it comes to justice. The set up is third-rate bait material. The closure is not any better.
It’s simply a piss poor film.
Author: Andrew Mackay
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