Billy Hope was a boxer at the top of his game, undefeated and world champion. But he is about to lose it all . . .
Now I have to admit that this film took a much more dramatic twist than I was expecting and it was pretty depressing from that point, you just wonder when things will stop getting even worse for Billy as he really does lose everything. Would that really happen to someone who had a lot of money so quickly? Ok that was one of my thoughts but add in the daughter in child services that really was totally heartbreaking as well.
We experience a man on self destruct as he struggles to deal with the loss of his wife in a horrible accident due to the boxing. Everyone he thought were his friends leave him and his trainer and agent moving onto new fighters, so he is left to decide what to do next. He thinks about killing himself and comes close a couple of times but then must figure out how to pick himself back up and win his daughter back.
This leads him to Tick Wills who he asks to train him and at first he won’t until Billy proves himself. This is nothing new and these scenes are pretty much standard in any boxing films, as we watch the fighter and trainer grow as a relationship as well. We did get some good scenes between Gyllenhaal and Whitaker who worked very well together, but nothing new when it comes to boxing films. We already knew he would eventually agree to train him but still had to wait for that moment.
The problem with the film trying to be down on your luck and then getting back to being on top is that the ending still does feel even a tiny bit happy. I think it took the depressing and upsetting side of it all way too far, and therefore doesn’t even give you a little bit to feel good about in my opinion. I mean I know that doesn’t always happen in life but it just seemed like overkill with it being everything going, hope that makes sense.
I am not taking away anything from an incredible performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and wouldn’t be surprised if he is an early contender for an Oscar nomination for his performance. Forest Whitaker is always solid and was so in this as well, even with a supporting role. Rachel McAdams tried not to be her usual character and an accent change didn’t sound fantastic in all honesty.
I did enjoy parts of the film as really do like to see how sport transfers into the film world. But I won’t be putting this in my favourites list as was too extreme for my liking. The boxing scenes were decent, but I am pretty sure that fights would be stopped now if the fighter was in that big of a mess. They don’t seem to let them go on for very long now, so I felt that was another extreme part.
It’s quite strange after putting my thoughts together on the film that my initial opinion of that I quite liked it might have just changed. I just found too many parts of it to be something we have seen many times before, it just missed out being its own film and stayed with the clichés. So I am now actually unsure if I actually enjoyed or liked it, maybe not.