The Fighter (9/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 114 minutes.
Not for children.
Whatís amazing about this film, based on the true
story of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his brother Dicky (Christian
Bale), is that under the end credits is a film of the real Micky and the
real Dicky. Bale is a carbon copy of the real Dicky, even down to his
Shot in 33 days in Lowell, Mass., Micky is the
younger brother of Dicky, who are the sons of Alice (Melissa Leo), a
Łber-controlling woman who manages her sonís boxing career, poorly.
Dicky is a crack cocaine addict who once floored Sugar Ray Leonard.
Micky has approximately 7 sisters, all of whom just sit around and
expect Micky to support them. It is a family from hell.
Micky falls for a bartender, Charlene (Amy Adams),
who exerts an influence on Micky to divorce from the strings of his
family and go out on his own.
I consider boxing an anachronistic remnant from
Roman gladiators who fought to the death in front of bloodthirsty
crowds. As a result, I detest most movies about boxing. But this isnít
your typical boxing movie. Itís really a character study. Bale gives a
once-in-a-lifetime performance as Dicky, and his performance is the one
you will remember. But the test of a terrific actor is one who can give
a performance that is believable and fits into the story but that you
donít necessarily remember because you donít realize he is acting. That
describes Wahlberg, Adams, and Leo, all of whom deserve awards
For Amy Adams fans, there is a lot more of her
displayed in this film than has been seen before. Itís not only her
acting that is eye-popping.
Tightly directed by David O. Russell from a script
(Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson), this captures the gritty
atmosphere of lower middle class Massachusetts.
Russell succumbed to the temptation of most sports
movies of making the sounds of the fights unrealistically loud, which
results in one wondering how anybody can stand up after being hit by
just one of the blows that sound so devastating. In real life, boxers
donít make these kinds of sounds.
Thatís a minor criticism that is applicable to
almost all sports movies, and itís not enough to detract from the
excellence of this film, which is clearly one of the best of the year
regardless of how you feel about boxing.