“Stop callin’ me an MTV girl… whatever that means.”
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams
The Fighter is a biographical sports drama that focuses on the career of professional boxer Micky “Irish” Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).
When the film opens, both the boys are sat on a couch telling the story of how Dicky trained Micky to take the title of World-Class Welterweight Champion after his boxing career hit an all time low.
One of the main reasons this movie is fantastic is the cast of super-talented actors. For me, the weakest link in this was Wahlberg. That’s a bit strange to say as he’s the main character and the focus is upon him, yet he doesn’t do anything for me. He still plays this straight talking guy that we’ve seen from him before. There doesn’t really seem to be anything new or inspired behind how he portrays Micky, he’s just a guy who is in the centre of a war between Dicky, his Mum and getting out of the game.
Aside from Wahlberg, everyone else does a fantastic job. Melissa Leo who stars as the Maganger-Mother is captivating. Wanting only the best for her boys – which she believes is fame and money – she manages to turn a blind eye to the truth; Micky wants out of boxing and Dicky is a cocaine addict. I’ve not seen her in any other films before but I must say, she is brilliant.
The other actor that stood apart from the rest was Bale. When I first saw the film I had to do a double take as the last time I saw him, he was all bulked up for Batman. In The Fighter though he plays a weedy cocaine addict, a very stark contrast. He had to lose a ton of weight like this before when he starred in The Machinist, so no matter your views on him as a person (which are probably fairly low), you can’t deny that he has a great passion for acting.
Before Bale was offered the role it was passed around to both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon and neither couldn’t commit to due to scheduling conflicts. I’m so pleased about this; I think Bale gives an outstanding performance in the film, for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and rightfully so. The rest of the cast are brilliant too. Even Amy Adams, and I really did not expect this from her. Full of sass and attitude, it’s a far cry from the little princess we saw in Enchanted.
After a string of fighting movies – Rocky, Raging Bull, Cinderella Man to name a few – you wouldn’t think much more could be done with the genre that we haven’t already seen. In this sense, it’s true that we don’t really see anything that original. Yet while some parts are fairly predictable, there is still that element of spice and brilliance that all the greats harbour, whether that be through the script or the array of talent from the actors, there’s no doubt that the film itself is superb. It can be quite funny in parts as well, especially with the humongous family that Micky has, including 7 sisters. I do feel the ending was a little rushed which is a shame. I didn’t find myself bored at the length of the film so I think they could have gotten away with stretching it out a little longer.
From the talented actors to the solid script and real grittiness of the film, everything works in such a cohesive fashion that the overall cinematography is fantastically portrayed and received. The Fighter is my favourite of the boxing films I have seen, and will be a tough one to beat.
Star rating: 8/10
Directed by David O. Russell.
Running time 115 minutes.