MPAA Rating: R
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forrest Whitaker
Runtime: 2 hr 3 mins
What It Is: Light Heavyweight champion of the world Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal) has everything a man could ask for: a great wife, a daughter who loves him and money to spare. What happens when you lose it all? What happens when in an act of anger somehow your loving wife and partner is taken from you forever, that daughter to whom you are a hero is stripped from you because your life is now in shambles? What happens when the money dries up, and there’s nothing left? This is what Billy has left to fight for, everything, and with nothing to lose perhaps that’s the best thing for him.
What We Think: What a phenomenal film! Pardon my pun, but dammit that was a ride. It struggles to get to it’s heart-ripping conclusion. Often times during the second third of the film it seems to really drag a bit. Building it’s exposition atop of sports movie cliches and faux inspiration. Show how like his character Gyllenhaal fights against this, and Fuqua works as his trainer. Jutting the camera about giving us a true sense of the action. In the final third of the movie we’re treated to the end of this Cinderella with just a huge gender pop.
Our Grade: B+, Inconsistent work hurts this film as a whole. Gyllenhaal continues to do work as he once again loses himself in a character, and it is this strive for excellence which sees Gyllenhaal firmly planting himself as one of this generations best and most versatile actors. If only the film could have kept the cliches in tact, and the pacing a bit more precise. All that said I’m going to recommend you see this movie as soon as humanly possible! Particularly if you’re a fan of boxing flicks.