'The Fighter' Seems To Be Jabbing Its Way Into The Oscars
I’d like to start this review off by saying if you’re thinking this is another Rocky film, you’re wrong! The Fighter’s trailer can be a bit misleading and ultimately fabricate a mindset of assurance; however, we’re all familiar with what they say about assumptions, right? This film visually and artistically defines never judging a book by its cover, and I can guarantee once watching this film, thoughts which start within our brain-waving cocoon will end up an unexpected trip!
Christian Bale channels real life boxer Dick Eklund to brilliant heights in this tale of two brothers who are in the mix in the professional boxing world. They hail from the rough N’tumble back streets of Lowell Massachusetts, and along with their personalities, their family (the Ward Family) and lack of sensibility from any of them, they are willing to take on all comers. The entire cast in The Fighter is at their peak delivering very memorable performances – performances that will have you in your seat laughing all the while you cringe at the next dangerous moment of insanity this family has to offer.
Melissa Leo as Alice Ward, matriarch and mother to Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dick Eklund (Christian Bale) - different fathers, controls the reins on this duo setting up their bouts with other boxers acting as a boxing manager/promoter/mother. It all stays in the family. Dick, once a highly regarded quasi professional boxer who once fought the great Sugar Ray Leonard knocking him down for a moment, was the pride of Lowell Massachusetts even though his career was mostly peripheral in the pros. At this time he is Micky’s trainer slash junkie crack addict. Micky struggles to be a better fighter continually being set up in bouts with fighters not in his weight class, however, Micky does have a solid boxing record and could go to Vegas where he would be paid to train for his fights however that would mean severing his family ties, breaking his strong bond with his much loved brother with regard to boxing.
The Fighter takes a sincere look at the dynamics in the Ward family, the drug addiction of Dick and showing Micky’s struggle to break free from the ties that bind.
ACTORS: Amy Adams takes on the role of Charlene Fleming, Micky’s girlfriend, a local barmaid hussy and sheds or should I say, shreds the skin of cute Disney girl delivering a breakout performance the likes of which I was not prepared for. Jack McGee, as George Ward, Micky’s Father is all too wonderful. Rarely does a role like this become complimentary to all the characters in a film. Jack takes it to the limit. Memorable! Melissa Leo, Alice Ward - did someone say Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG awards nominee? WOW. All the Ward sisters - as a collection are too real to believe. They all deliver crusty but lush performances, each worthy of note but as a group are almost an organism of outrageousness. If they weren’t so real, they’d be a SNL skit with episodes each week - they are that terrific. Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward delivers maybe his finest performance to date on film enhanced by this terrific cast is the perfect foil to this family of misfits. Last but not least; Christian Bale delivers one of the finest performances on screen since Sean Penn’s Harvey Milk. His performance is staggering - done with tremendous energy and power. To say a nut-job like Mr. Bale has talent is to understate a gifted actor’s’ abilities and because Mr. Bale is English, this performance will put him in the pantheon of Knighted actors who are given the title Sir. (Personally I don’t think he deserves it, but it is how “The Game” is played) It may not be this year, but you’d have to say, it will be soon. I’m not sure he will be up for Male lead actor, rather, supporting male, but his performance is likely this year’s Oscar, SAG and Golden Globe winner. It is safe to say, even with all the remarkable performances in The Fighter, Christian Bale is the acting and energy foundation of this film.
DIRECTOR: David O. Russell takes on the task of honing these fine performances and knowing when the actors have reached their potential. He does not hold back in reaching to discover these peoples’ lives, their sadness and sorrows, their stupidity, love, hate, anger, and under the fingernail grit that describes their roughness. David can be offensive and loving with his direction, however, his vision and his delivery of it is on a grand scale and well worth it.
There is a great deal of cussing, moments of drug use, prison scenes, sexual innuendo and violent moments that can cause some people to feel ill at ease. I once again state this is not Rocky, but a bio-pic of lives hinged to the boxing world.
If you’re the type who enjoys a good film, this is for your! I recommend this film for all who are of age and can handle complex subject matters covered in this film.
GRADE: A / GENRE: Drama, Adaptation, Bio-Pic, and Sports / ROARS: 5 out of 5
RUN TIME: 2 Hrs. / RATED: R
CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, Jack McGee
DIRECTOR: David O. Russell
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