Review: The Fighter
The Fighter is just as abrupt and basic as its title. This is a boxing movie and boxing movies tend to stick to one storyline which the Boy Done Good, unless they are post career boxing movies which tend to go with 'the Boy Done Good But Couldn't Handle It'.
The Fighter is just as abrupt and basic as its title. This is a boxing movie and boxing movies tend to stick to one storyline which the Boy Done Good, unless they are post career boxing movies which tend to go with 'the Boy Done Good But Couldn't Handle It'. In telling the true story of Irish Mickey Ward, the fighter gets to do both.
Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a jobbing light welterweight boxer who lives in the shadow of his elder half brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale) who once managed to knock down Sugar Ray leonard.
Ward has promise but his career is going nowhere because he's being held back by his family. his fearsome mother (Melissa Leo) is his manager and picks the wrong fights for him and Dickie is a crackhead who doesn't always turn up for training.
A good underdog story always goes over well in a sports drama and this has a cracker with the miss match of intense method man Bale against buffed up, whiney voiced, turn-up-and-say-the-words Wahlberg.
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That crack is lethal addictive stuff and getting an actor as faddy as Bale to play a user was never going to end prettily. Wahlberg, meanwhile, looks and sounds the same as he does in every movie.
Yet if I had to call it, I'd give it to Wahlberg.
- 1 Alan Carr enjoys 'delicious food' and leaves large tip at city restaurant
- 2 'Disaster from start to finish': Parents slam school for failing kids
- 3 See how Norwich Castle's keep is being transformed
- 4 'I don't feel safe' - Boss' fears just one month into shop job
- 5 Family piano shop founded in 1887 is leaving the city
- 6 Power still out in parts of Norwich city centre six hours later
- 7 Schoolchildren still without playing field after TWO YEARS
- 8 Tributes paid to 'amazing' Norwich shop worker
- 9 Power cut hits Norwich city centre
- 10 New £64,000 bus lane could cut 80 seconds off journeys
Bale gives you a performance but that's all he gives you. It is an immaculate performance but there's nothing there to engage you. Wahlberg does the basics: makes you care about his character, gets you to invest emotionally in the film.
The title makes you think of the wrestler and that's a fine comparison.
Just as The Wrestler functioned as a way for a faltering visionary director, in that case Darren Aronofsky to win back a bit of credibility after a career setback, The Fighter is a shot at mainstream redemption for Russell.
The Fighter (15)
Director: David O. Russell
With: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee and Mickey O'Keefe
Length: 114 mins