Jake Gyllenhaal Month #4: Southpaw, End of Watch

Plot: The movie ‘Southpaw’ is the much-anticipated boxing movie which traces the failure graph of Billy Hope, the legendary World Light Heavyweight Champion and focuses upon the father-daughter relationship between Hope as well as Leila, after tragedy strikes their family. To worsen matters, Hope suffers from neurotic anger issues and seeks solace from his trainer for inspiration in not just boxing but also personal issues. Directed by renowned Antoine Fuqua and originally scripted by Kurt Sutter, Southpaw is a film that borders between the two genres of sports and drama.

Review: I wouldn’t be an ace observer to admit that the only saving grace of the movie is Jake Gyllenhaal. Thankfully, he was present in every scene and that just made my watch more interesting. Child actress, Oona Laurence who essays the role of Hope’s daughter gives a credible performance, and their father-daughter relationship is truly endearing to watch, funny at one moment and emotional at the next. Like most sports movies, Southpaw too focuses on the personal life of the boxer with the sports challenges merely acting as a backdrop and setting the tone of the movie. The film does have its share of narrative problems and feels ambiguous at times. Towards the second half, I almost found myself day dreaming of a better plot. Fuqua doesn’t really manage to combine drama and sports equally well in this movie.

Verdict: With films like Source Code and Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhal month #4 has come a long way. In this film too he showcases a stellar performance and is the only character worth noting. Although Southpaw does score extra points because of its brazen and interesting portrayal of boxing world, I couldn’t help noting that the plot is loose at some points, with the drama played down.

Moview Review: End of Watch

End of Watch is a successful attempt at exploring the arena beyond regular cop drama & inculcates a refreshing novelty in every scene

Plot: End of Watch is an emotionally riveting cop thriller movie that manages to put audience right at the midst of the thrill and chase. It revolves around two police officers of LA, who happen to unravel a secret and thus become the prime target of the nation’s most lethal drug cartel. Directed and written by David Ayer, the role of two police officers are essayed by Jake Gyllenhaal month #4 as well as Michael Pena.

Review: I would have respected the movie End of Watch even if it would turn out to be a bad watch. Director David Ayer constantly gambles with both his direction and script throughout the film, but most of those gambles pay off. I found it impressive and endearing to watch how he differs in the shooting of a scenes, just to connect the central characters with the audience in a better way. End of Watch is not simply a basic cop drama featuring two cops battling out the evil in Los Angeles, instead it explores the friendship and faithfulness between two cops, Officer Taylor or ( Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Zavala or (Michael Pena). Ayer allows the story to unfold at a gradual pace, portraying the cop characters as more than just stoic officers and rather as more humane, attending weddings, making love and getting emotional. The way Ayer plays with the characters is refreshing to watch.

Verdict: Overall, End of Watch is entertaining and emotionally gripping drama. It explores the purview beyond cop movies and comes across to me as funny, intense and just fantastic. The plot is cohesively constructed and the USP of the movie. A combination of charismatic performances and energy of characters do manage to overcome familiar pitfalls inherent in this genre and qualifies the movie as a must-watch.

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