WRITTEN BY: Kurt Sutter
DIRECTED BY: Antoine Fuqua
STARRING: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence
RATING: 4 stars
Champion boxer Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) seeks the help of trainer Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker) to get his life back on track after losing his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) in an accident and his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) to child protection services.
Kurt Sutter is one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood today and he has crafted a beautiful script, expertly executed by director Antoine Fuqua. The film is full of graphic and compelling fight sequences, as well as a heartfelt custody battle. The final boxing scene is especially gripping and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I cried a few times during some of the more emotional moments, especially between Gyllenhaal and Laurence who were adorable as father and daughter. In fact, Gyllenhaal, proves once again what a diverse actor he can be and has taken an extra step with the physicality of this role. Meanwhile, Whitaker is as reliable as ever as the inspiring trainer, Naomie Harris is sympathetic in her role working for child protection services, and both 50 Cent and Miguel Gomez make good semi-villainous characters as a manager and rival boxer respectively. The soundtrack also nicely supports the story. Southpaw is a powerful film worth seeing on the big screen.