One of the best movies of the year without a doubt, The Fighter packs a punch in every area that counts. The Fighter is a movie that follows such a simple story and is able to give you some wonderful performances. It’s a great contender for the Oscars this year and I have faith it will walk away with at least one.
The story of The Fighter is similar to other boxing/sports stories, starting with the fighter, Micky Ward, who never really got his chance at the big times. He was basically a stepping stone for other boxers to excel their careers. Micky is trained by his crack head brother Dicky and managed by his mother. Now Dicky keeps living in the past, he had one good fight (possibly by accident) and he continues to throw it in everyone’s face while his mother supports it. Her golden boy is Dicky and she wants Micky to be just like him. So, while other boxers keep stepping on Micky you have his brother and mother pulling him down as well. What a family huh?
Now Micky meets a lady by the name of Charlene. She’s tough and confident. She knows what she did wrong in her life and she knows what she can do to change it. She helps motivate Micky into becoming his own man. If he really wants to be a great boxer than all he needs to do is let go of everything holding him down and reach up and grab the opportunity! But, a few problems with his brother get thrown into the mix and Micky has to deal with both family issues and issues of his future. Can Micky overcome the odds and get his career back on track? What will happen to his brother Dicky? That part of the story is best discovered on your own. It’s a great story that’s been done before but not with this level of talent. Everything fits together like a glove (boxing glove maybe?) and we are presented with one of the best movies of 2010!
David O. Russell knows what he’s doing in the director’s chair. I haven’t seen much of his past work, but I can say that this movie is directed with passion. He never gives us a dull moment in the story. The pacing never drops speed or makes you stop caring. It felt like a brisk movie with lots happening. He’s also able to channel some great comedic scenes. I haven’t laughed so hard in this type of drama in a long time. The movie is sprinkled with these scenes so strategically to the point of perfection. You get your perfect balance of a sports drama with real life situations and moments of laughter.
Another great thing about his direction is the boxing scenes. I was worried that this would be Raging Bull or Rocky all over again, but he manages to add a refreshing style. He films it with cameras that make it look like you’re watching the boxing match on an old school tube television. The fights never last too long, but at the same time they’re not short. I didn’t know who was going to win any of the matches. Since I haven’t researched Micky Ward at all, I had no idea what the outcome would be. I had my predictions, but it was still nice not knowing. The movie could have gone either way.
The acting is the main reason this movie works so well. Christian Bale plays the drug addict brother, Dicky. Bale lost lots of weight in preparation for this role. His face is pale and skinny, with that drugged outlook. His stare is so blank and lifeless that it’s chilling. He maintains that upbeat chatter box type attitude that a lot of heavy users have. Towards the end of the film you are shown a video of what the real Dicky looks like and it’s then when you realize how perfect Bale was.
Micky is played by Mark Wahlberg. Mark does a great job in this role, but I think it’s the character of Micky that brings his performance down. In the first half of the movie Micky just follows everyone’s orders. He never does anything for himself and that translates into you caring more about Bale’s character. It’s in the second half where Wahlberg shines as Micky. He helps transform Micky from the person who does what he’s told to the person who does what he wants.
The rest of the cast is perfect, from Amy Adams‘ Charlene to any one of Micky’s sisters. They all fit in perfectly and help make the movie more authentic.
This is usually the part of my review that I reserve for things I didn’t enjoy in the film. I can honestly say that would be nothing. I liked everything in the film and I don’t think there was anything they could have improved or changed.
Overall, The Fighter is one of my favorite movies of 2010. It’s a simple story with an amazing director who has knows what he wants. The acting is perfect and I really think Bale will get the Oscar for best supporting actor. I strongly suggest you catch this in theaters before the year is out. You won’t want to miss it!
The Fighter – 10/10