“A boxing movie that overcomes the limitations of the genre.”
If you’ve seen one sports movie–be the subject golf, basketball, football. boxing, etc–you’ve just about seen them all.
And that’s because, while the sport being played may change, they these types of movies follow a, by now, predictable version of Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey,‘ where the main character reaches the pinnacle of their career, is brought low, which enables them to realize all that they have taking for granted, in the end making them better people and redeeming them in the eyes of the people that they love.
And there’s a reason things become formulaic: When movies that use them work, they can be beautiful things to behold.
And Southpaw in all its brutal, bloody beauty, delivers big time.
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the light heavyweight champion, at the top of the world and his game, till an untimely death–which curiously the movie for the most part abandons once it serves its purpose of breaking down Hope, so he can rise again–sends him into a downward spiral that he spends most of the move coming out of. t
As I mentioned earlier, it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before, though the intensity that Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Miguel Gomez bring to the story manage to make the material seem almost fresh.
And considering how many times this story has been told, that’s quite an accomplishment.