Movie #104 The Fighter
(2010, US, d. David O. Russell)
Moving and inspiring, The Fighter is not at all what you would think it would be. First of all, it’s not really a boxing movie. Sure, there’s boxing scenes a couple of times, but it’s more about the support group that Mickey Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg) has around him. People like his brother Dicky (played by Christian Bale) or his girlfriend (played by Amy Adams) or his mother (played by Melissa Leo) or any of the other people in the working class town of Lowell, Massachusetts all influence the outcome of Mickey’s fights. The real struggle of the film lies in getting that support group united as one. Since every person in that group comes with their own problems and hatreds, that task is a hard one. Produced by Darren Aronofosky (of this year’s Black Swan), The Fighter is an inspirational story in very adept hands. It may not have the same croud-rousing moments as other sports films for regular audiences, but I was at the edge of my seat. The relationship tensions and personal tensions of Mickey’s life are reflected so well in the fight scenes that the winner of those not only determines who gets the title shot or who even worked harder, but reflects who is behind him. I thought that was a wonderful embellishment to the film. Like always, Mark Wahlberg is only as good as the movie he’s in. And ironically enough that’s the same situation his character in, just with the people around him. So in an odd way, I think this role is sort of perfect for him. Though with nod-worthy performances from Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, it’s Christian Bale’s crack-addicted, vicarious, dominating, and “has-been” performance that steals the show as Micky’s brother. Looking at nominations now, I’m sure this film will continue to be included in the range of award ceremonies this winter.