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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes boxing out of corners is not confined to the ring., 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Fighter [DVD] (DVD)
The Fighter is directed by David O. Russell and collectively written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. Music is by Michael Brook and cinematographer for the film is Hoyte van Hoytema. Film is based on the true life tale of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg), who had to battle thru family strife to give himself a chance of achieving something in the sport.

The synopsis is simple because the film is simple, but sometimes with simplicity comes great things. Such is the case with The Fighter, a boxing film that is that rare old animal of being a cliché riddled sports film: yet one that's totally raw and uplifting into the bargain. The film had a long gestation period, big names such as Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Darren Aronofsky were attached at one point, Scorsese, too, was in the frame to helm at one point, but still Wahlberg couldn't get his dream project off the ground. But all's well that ends well, for as it turned out, Russell, his director on I ' Huckabees & Three Kings, stepped into the ring and with Bale now on board too, the elements were in place for a Raging Bull/Rocky of this millennium. Is The Fighter worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Marty & Sly's pugilistic punchers? Hell yes it is, in fact it carries the gritty tone akin to the former and the feel good factor of the latter.

That Russell has managed to rise above the pitfalls of sports movie formula is an impressive achievement, more so given that this is treading the well worm path of rags-to-riches and triumph over adversity, but he is helped immeasurably by the performances of the principals in the cast. Wahlberg is the heart of the picture, physically he fits the bill anyway, but he has to play conflicted emotion to perfection, as Micky is pulled from pillar to post by all around him, to truly make Ward work. And he does. Bale, in the beginning, you feel is going to lay out a method turn reliant on another one of his punishing physical changes. Yet as the elder Ward brother-a fallen sportsman himself-now a crack addicted dope under the impression he's making a comeback-Bale manages to elicit empathy, sympathy and a request for us to root him out of his rut: quite a feat given the character's obvious fallibility's as kin. Adams as "the girlfriend" is spunky, brassy and tough as old boots, it's great to see her get a role so stripped down and raw it lets her showcase her dramatic talents. Rounding out the four pronged propeller of quality thesping is Leo as mother Alice. Brilliantly boisterous, angry and a maternal maelstrom of ignorant parenting, in another's hands this could have been caricature mundanity.

Some missteps exist, such as relegating Adams to the back ground in the last quarter, and for sure the final fight, although well edited and potent, is far too short and rushed to 100% capitalise on the swell of support built up for Micky up to that point. But they are minor gripes, itches easily scratched at when judging the film as a whole. For this is an uplifter for our times; a sports movie that comfortably sits up at the top with the best of them. Bravo. 9.5/10
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