The Fighter (2010) Short review

SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD: A really great movie. It’s a better drama than sports movie, though. I thought the film was at its weakest when it was trying to recreate some of Mickey Ward’s fights (of whom the movie was about).

The story follows the two Ward brothers, one a fighter that hasn’t quite lived up to his potential yet and the other one that never will live up to his potential (his boxing career has passed him by).Wahlberg plays the central character (that at times feels like a supporting character because of his low key personality) that has reached a fork in the road of his career where is torn between family loyalty and having a real chance to advance  his career. He is clearly being held back by a family that is overly clinging/protective/enabling and especially so by his idol: his elder brother who has serious addiction problems.

Obviously Christian Bale got most of the much deserved praise, winning an Academy Award for his role as Mickey Ward’s drug addicted brother. He once again lost weight, changed his physical appearance and became a completely different personality. He was very believable as someone with a drug problem, even in the sobre moments. He captures the look I’ve seen before in the eyes of people I have known that had been on drugs for long periods of time. It would be wrong not to point out some of the other actors, though.

Mark Wahlberg’s Mickey Ward won’t stand out as much as the brother, just for the fact that he’s more reserved. I don’t know if Bale’s character would have worked as well without the ‘straight man’. Wahlberg plays humble about as well as any actor, and that’s kind of disconcerting given the fact that he was the arrogant ego tripping self congratulatory Marky Mark in a past life.

Amy Adams is also great in the kind of movie that you normally don’t see her in (she of the chick flick). She does a wonderful job playing a less educated… earthy, shall we say… woman who’s not above trading punches in a Jerry Springer style catfight.

I thought the first two thirds of the film were the most compelling and had plenty of humor mixed in with the drama ( a lot of that coming from Ward’s family). The title fight felt almost like an afterthought, with Dicky having overcome his own problems. I was happy that Arturo Gatti got mentioned, too. Maybe they should have included some of the real fights as the credits rolled.It’s well worth watching, though, and recommended if you like dramatic (and gritty) underdog stories.

3.5 of 5

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