Review by Steve Duffy –
This gritty and emotional melodrama focuses on the life of undefeated light heavyweight champion Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he tries to rise from the ashes of some tragic life events. Billy emerged from a life of foster homes and jail, to living a life of luxury with his wife (Rachel McAdams) and daughter (Oona Laurence), only to have it taken away from him.
After hitting rock-bottom, he takes a job at a boxing gym owned by retired trainer Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), who he hopes will help him train so he can regain his belt and former glory.
What I loved about his film is the commitment that Gyllenhaal gives to his role. His demonstration of intense masculine aggression was a perfect balance to his emotional suffering. He delivers an extraordinary performance that at times may bring tears to your eyes.
Even though her role is small, McAdams delivers a stellar performance as his wife, Maureen. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is good as Billy’s villainous promoter. The choreography of the boxing sequences are entertaining, suspenseful, and bloody.
We have all seen this story before, but you have not seen it with Jake Gyllenhall. He definitely keeps the film afloat making it worth the price of the ticket.
R for language throughout, and some violence
Runtime: 2 hr. 3 min.