Review: The Fighter

9 02 2011

Hi all,

I hope you’re happy and if not, well, you’re over the midweek hump.

I’m going the review The Fighter today despite seeing it on the weekend. I’m going to tell you straight away… I’m a boxing movie fan but just because I like training montages and the thrilling fight scenes, The Fighter isn’t just a boxing movie.

Based on a true story and set in the former industrial town of Lowell, Massachusetts, The Fighter is a film about the real life light Welterweight boxer, Micky Ward. Played by Mark Wahlberg, Micky is a journeyman boxer living in the shadow of his once-great brother, Dickie Ecklund played by Christian Bale. At his peak, Dickie fought Sugar Ray Leonard and although he lost, he gave a good account of himself; weaving in and out of punches and even knocking him down. But that was a long time ago and now Dickie is jobless and addicted to crack, but he still manages to rock up late to the gym in a half-arsed attempt to train Mickey. He also manages Mickey’s career, badly, in partnership with the matriach, Alice.

Although Wahlberg is the steady centre point of the movie, he acts as a solid foundation for the rest of the cast. The best thing about The Fighter is the supporting cast and if one of them doesn’t get an oscar, I will eat my hat. Bale is absolutely excellent as Ecklund… some would say over the top, that’s certainly what I thought for the first few scenes of the film. But then again, I don’t know any crackheads and the best part of the film for me is a short scene at the credits where the real Mickey Ward and Dick Ecklund say a few words and Bale got the guy absolutely spot-on. Bale really is a rare talent… a complete berk, but a real talent. Melissa Leo is an outrageous, determined, sometimes-manipulative mother/manager to Mickey.

Although Mrs D. enjoyed the film, she was less impressed than me. We spoke about it and I do think her criticisms are valid. If you’re not a boxing fan, there was a lot of build-up montages (which happen to be my guilty pleasure) to the climatic scenes. I certainly think that the depth of the characters like Mickey’s sisters, Dickie and Alice and the snappy dialogue more than makes up for the dryer parts of the film.

Really worth seeing for Bales performance alone. If you are a boxing movie fan, it has all the raw inspirational scenes of Rocky, but has the intelligent dialogue of a gritty drama.

3/5

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