Just watching the trailer for Jake Gyllenhaal's new movie is stressful.
Southpaw initially looks like it's going to be a boxing movie, with Gyllenhaal as Billy "The Great" Hope, a champion fighter but very insecure man. Rachel McAdams plays the wife who supports him through the most difficult times and they have a cute moppet daughter who will presumably teach Billy what's really important in life. Then there's a shooting...
In a split-second it becomes clear that this is not really a sports movie but a tragedy about a man reduced to nothing trying to rebuild himself. And given the creative team it's probably going to be a very manly version of that story.
Southpaw is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) from a script by Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy. These are two people well trained in stories of men who've known suffering and how to fight their way out of it.
Hopefully it will be another strong role for Gyllenhaal, who is having one hell of a year. After his brilliantly subtle work in Enemy and his wired, creepy performance in Nightcrawler he's making a strong case for being called the best of his generation.
We'll see if this carries on that brilliant run when Southpaw is released on July 31.
BONUS FUN FACT: When the film was first mooted in 2010 it was intended as a vehicle for Eminem.