Summer 2015 will have seen superheroes, road warriors, dinosaurs, and Terminators all march across the big screen by the time the old-fashioned sports melodrama Southpaw arrives, providing a change of pace from the season’s usual blockbuster antics. The Weinstein Company’s trailer marketing for the film – the latest to feature quite an impressive physical transformation by Jake Gyllenhaal – hasn’t attempted to keep the movie’s familiar narrative secret, instead painting Southpaw as being a grittier and well-acted variation on a classic tune, so to speak.
Written by Sons of Anarchy TV show creator Kurt Sutter and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), Southpaw tells the story of Billy (Gyllenhaal), the Light Heavyweight boxing champion of the world – that is, before personal tragedy strikes and Billy hits rock-bottom, both in and outside the ring. However, a chance for redemption eventually presents itself, as Billy starts training anew in an effort to reclaim his champion fighter status, regain custody of his daughter, Alice (Claire Foley) – and get his life back on track.
The newly-released Southpaw extended TV spot/trailer (see above) doesn’t reveal all that much about the film that previously-released clips hadn’t already, but is nonetheless just as effective at selling the movie’s hard-edged sports redemption storyline as past Southpaw trailers have been (with the film’s original Eminem song used to sweeten the deal). Fuqua’s boxing feature continues to look like it could be a strong piece of summer counter-programming for related reasons, not least of which is that it’s quite different than other late July 2015 theatrical releases (see: Pixels, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and so forth).
For those curious, here’s what critics are saying about Southpaw so far (click the respective links for the full reviews):
Justin Chang – Variety
You can practically smell the blood, the sweat and the fierce actorly commitment rising from Jake Gyllenhaal’s bruised and tattooed body in [“Southpaw”]… Yet the undeniable intensity of Gyllenhaal’s bulked-up, Method-mumbling performance may leave you feeling more pummeled than convinced in this heavy-handed tale of redemption, in which director Antoine Fuqua once more demonstrates his fascination with codes of masculine aggression, extreme violence and not much else.
Deborah Young – THR
[Southpaw] sticks to tried-and-tested genre rules, yet an edgy cast — led by formidable leading man Jake Gyllenhaal — keeps the story in sharp focus… [The film] has the chops to draw the high-testosterone male demographic, but feels too macho-centric to cross over to the Million Dollar Baby crowd. An award-worthy Gyllenhaal is the main attraction.
Alonso Duralde – The Wrap
Remove the swearing, the blood, the Eminem songs and the people of color from “Southpaw,” and you basically have the most popular boxing movie of 1935… Still, clichés can be as fun in a new movie as in an old one, and if you come to terms with the fact that “Southpaw” doesn’t bring any ideas to the canvas that are any newer than Wallace Beery, this is an energetic enough fight picture to capture the imagination.
In short, it sounds as though Southpaw is very much the movie that trailers have painted is as being. That is, a by-the-numbers modernized take on a rather formulaic genre film, but also one that is elevated by solid direction and the strong performances of its cast – which, in addition to Gyllenhaal, includes Rachel McAdams (True Detective), Forest Whitaker (The Butler), Naomie Harris (Skyfall), 50 Cent (Power), Rita Ora (Fifty Shades of Grey), and Victor Ortiz (The Expendables 3).
Southpaw opens in U.S. theaters on July 24th, 2015.
Source: The Weinstein Company