Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Fighter (2010) - Review

Directed by: David O Russell

Written by: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Keith Dorrington

The story is based upon true events that revolve around Micky (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky (Christian Bale), step brothers who come from an incredibly dysfunctional family. Dicky was once a professional boxer who knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard; he's now a babbling crack-head who trains Micky. Micky has a run of bad fights which he starts to put down to his brothers training and his mothers management skills. Micky then meets Charlene (Amy Adams) who encourages him to go elsewhere for his training as she can see his family are stifling his potential, this inevitably causes even more problems within the family.

Reading several other reviews of this film, the general consensus is that the cast is the driving force behind the film. I'd agree with this with only one major exception; Mark Wahlberg's character, Micky. And don't misunderstand me, I really like Mark Wahlberg, he's given amazing performances in the likes of Boogie Nights and The Departed. It's just that Micky is dull and lacks any resemblance of a personality, which is emphasised even more by almost every other character in the film. It's easy to imagine Mickey being neglected as a child having to grow up with seven sisters, his overbearing mother and his massive-super-ego of a step brother Dickie. And all this wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for Wahlberg who's playing the lead role, because as the film progressess it's difficult to really care about whether he wins his fights or not.

Other than this exception, the film is terrific and the performances really are that good; Christian Bale has undergone yet another frighteningly good transformation and Amy Adams has really upped her game. But for me the standout performance goes to Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) who gives a dangerously good performance as the mother.

Overall The Fighter is a great watch with great performances but is let down in one area, the main character. It's certainly not my favourite boxing film, and it's also not (as one British tabloid paper is quoted as saying) 'The best boxing movie since Rocky'; obviously they didn't get around to watching Raging Bull or any other films about boxing.

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