Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: Kurt Sutter
Now i came into this movie with the highest of hopes i mean jesus! gyllenhaal has been on a roll! Prisoners/Enemy/ And the Sadistic Nightcrawler!!. a rage filled depressed boxer just sounds like an extravagant roll for him, and for the most part it is.. for him..
Now i placed that quote up there cause i feel like that encompasses the film a bit,
The story is about a light-heavy champ Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), a brawler of sorts. he's doing well. living it up with he's beautiful wife and adorable daughter, but bam! a kind of typical confrontation ends in a gunshot, blood and the beginning of a downward spiral for him.
Now the story never goes into the shooter which I thought was a missed opportunity.
But after those events Billy succumbs into a dark haze of rage and alcohol, Here is where i loved the film, Gyllenhaal really shines showing the dark places of a lost man, but the writing and the director never join his ranks. The writing is often cliché, cheesy and.. melodramatic..
The story slips in and out of different places, but never stays long enough to truly build a great buildup or sense of hopelessness or even rage or loss. Its almost as if they tried so hard they overlooked the simplest execution of that, which is meaningful and plot centric time devoted to the main story.
Without spoiling too much, he goes into this run down, gym to find a trainer and job, and I loved the concept of it, seeing the poverty stricken hoodlums boxing instead of doing petty crimes or slinging drugs which would for them honestly be way more productive and profitable, but no. they're all they're doing what they love. I loved that, and for a second they bring a young kid into the story than he inexplicably just disappears.. than he literally disappears.. and the way the characters handle it was just awkward and fell completely flat.. and that's when I imagined what if the story had followed that arc of a selfish man in rage helping a helpless ghetto kid succeed and in turn him finding solace.. and winning his daughter with a successful job. but nope.
The thing that bothered me most about that was that it showed how sloppy and over dramatic the script was, it spent all that time adding that side story just for it to not impact anything. that's storytelling 101 guys, if it doesn't affect your core or characters than what the heck is the point!?!
So lets review the acting a bit
Jake Gyllenhaal kills it, with his chameleon eques abilities, neat fact the role was suppose to go to Marshall (Eminem) Matthers but he dropped due to his focus on music. Gyllenhaal is essentially a complete Eminem copycat in his mannerisms and attitude and speech pretty great.
Rachael McAdams doesn't do much but be the supporting female, pretty sad..
Forest Whitaker underperforms (Maybe over?) by never really landing any emotion or peak in his character.
Oona Laurens performs well by Gyllenhaal, providing good counter action and sense of deception.
50 cent is just a single dimension 50 cent, I mainly blame the writer since he's character just kept being teased for almost being integral but never really being important.
And on too..
Antoine Fuqua has a nice little filmography---
2014 The Equalizer
2013 Olympus Has Fallen
2009 Brooklyn Finest
2004 King Arthur
2003 Tears of the Sun
2001 Training Day
1998 The Replacement Killers
Training Day being the golden nugget there.
Now this film didn't have anything that particular stood out directing wise, nor did anything looks bad or unattractive, so he did a good job setting the scenes, it just seems all a little less than it could of been, I feel the film could of really shined with a little more intriguing compositions, and just overall structure. I wish I had more to say here, but their wasn't much signifying here..
The music wasn't anything noting.. I was expecting a little more Eminem and gang beats and songs considering he produced the films soundtrack. But nope we just get "phenomenal"
So.. In ending
Jake Gyllenhaal performs amazingly, the writer over-writes most of the film, never showcasing the rage or the emotion that was so simply teased. The story tries a little too hard and ends up being melodramatic. The director doesn't commit any crimes but doesn't orchestrate the film into anything great. the film seriously could of been amazing but the flaws of the story and characters seriously hold the film back. still a good watch if your a fan of Gyllenhaal chameleon-like skills, if not.. well. still a good rental.