After Jake Gyllenhaal’s dark seminal performance as seedy Lou in Nightcrawler, this was going to be quite the follow up. Looking ripped as hell and ready for business, Gyllenhaal looks and breathes the part of Billy Hope the light heavyweight boxing champ. Hope loses everything to get what he really wants, it’s a formulated ride but one that keeps the viewer engaged from start to finish with some solid acting thrown in.
What I like about Gyllenhaal is the passion he brings to the role, I don’t think anyone else could’ve pulled it off like he has done. Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) has captured the blood sweat & tears of the gym and boxing ring with some street savy – yeah the film looks a million bucks the editing fast paced but you feel as if drawn in to its kaleidoscopic world.
If boxing’s not your thing, then you’ll be best to try something a little less brutal, think of all the boxing movies you’ve ever seen then go see this one. It is however a little Hollywood overcooked but with acting stalwarts Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams and pint sized wunderkind Oona Laurence (13 years old) they steer the film on track and well Gyllenhaal? He’s the man
Quite a gripping start to what I would have to say was a entertaining boxing movie. Sure the story is based around the life of the current light weight boxing champion of the world that has everything going for him, from beautiful wife, multi-million dollar house and cut kid who never loses sight of the dream.
Jake Gyllenhaal, as always, puts in a very masterful performance as the great boxing southpaw boxer who must surely be on the radar of the Academy for best actor in a drama. Maybe not for this role, because of the script and not his performance. And if I am honest, this movie does follow the formula of most Hollywood boxing movies aka a good guy down on his luck finally makes good at the end because, ‘the good guy always wins in American movies’. Oh by the way, that’s a spoiler alert!!! Hey come on… we kind of know that’s going to happen…right? Okay all I can say is, ‘Job’. And I mean the book of Job not Job as in work.
After all is said and done, no matter what I say and think, this is still a good movie. It has everything that a good Boxing or any kind of sporting movie should have. The successes and the lows, the struggles and defeats, the fall downs and the fight backs. There are even times that you may feel the need, the need for a hanky. No hanky needed for me this time but I did notice others around me with a tear or two.
A good watch that packs a punch!