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The Fighter (DVD)
Member Name: TToria
The Fighter (DVD)
Date: 26/06/11, updated on 27/06/11 (80 review reads)
Advantages: Gripping, convincing, amazing performances by all of the cast
Based on a true story 'The Fighter' captures our hearts as the story of welterweight boxer 'Micky 'Irish' Ward unfolds and displays his battles not just in a boxing ring, but in his personal life also. Although there have been a few fantastic movie releases in the past two years, this ranks as one of my personal favourites.
In Lowell, Massachusetts Micky (Mark Wahlberg) is trained by former boxer and half brother Dicky. (Christian Bale) Now a known crack addict, Dicky was previously the pride of the community having gone toe to toe with boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and flooring him. (Although some say Leonard fell)
Used mainly as a stepping stone for other boxers to excel in the industry, Micky continues to lose fights and confidence due to poor management by his money-hungry mother Alice (Melissa Leo) and inconsistent training by the unreliable Dicky-who consistently fails to arrive on time to train his brother, if at all.
A fight is then organised to be held in Las Vegas, so all the family venture there only to be told that Micky's opponent has the flu. It's here his mother and brother prove again to be all about the money instead of Micky's welfare as they push him to fight another opponent, who has almost twenty pounds on him and he does predictably give him a beating in the ring.
It is after he returns home from Vegas Micky begins to question the motives of his family. With added encouragement to stand up to them from his new love interest Charlene (Amy Adams) a feisty and foul-mouthed barmaid, Micky then has to decide whether his career will be better off without their involvement. The family take an instant dislike to Charlene, Alice in particular who strongly believes all business should be kept within the family. Once they begin to lose grip of the reigns controlling Micky's career Alice and Micky's seven sisters' blame Charlene and storm round to her house where both Micky and Charlene are at that moment and a fight breaks out among them all.
It's here the movie really kicks into full swing as we see Micky fight for his own recognition as a talented boxer and strive to keep all those that he loves together and behind him. The troublesome Dicky and the rest of his family are then forced to open their eyes on who Dicky has really become since his boxing career ended after an event brutally magnifies his addiction.
Although the Golden Globe winners were Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for their supporting roles, the other outstanding performers alongside them won the Best Acting Ensemble award from the Critics Choice Movie Awards. I didn't think there was a single cast member who didn't shine in their role even though one of them was not an actor! Policeman Mickey O'Keefe played himself after being convinced by Mark Wahlberg.
Bale's portrayal of the real life 'Dicky' was so on point and is proved to be when you see footage of the real brothers at the end of the film. It's clear he studied this man extensively and he physically transformed his body into a thin and awkward state of that of a crack addict. His mannerisms and quirky, child-like attitude sucked you into really believing this character was real. The scenes in the movie when Dicky is being filmed in a crack house are so brutal and intense you almost feel sorry for him when he truly believes he's being filmed due to a planned 'comeback.' Bale was incredibly convincing.
Wahlberg's role as Micky was totally unappreciated. The character may have been the least interesting compared with the others but you still undoubtedly wanted him to succeed... and maybe throttle his family!
The character of Micky remained torn between doing what was best for him and wanting to remain loyal to his family. He remained a truly nice guy throughout and I think this is maybe why Wahlberg's performance was so under-rated and went sometimes un-noticed. The other characters had such large, up and down personalities that you found yourself changing your opinions on them often. This of course would grip your imagination and attention more than Micky's repetitive 'I just wanna win a fight and get trained properly' and laid-back attitude. But that was exactly how Micky Ward was.
I do think Wahlbergs performance as Micky was solid; he trained many years to capture the physique and personality of the character and was so determined for the movie to be shown he pushed for years to get it made. Had any other of the characters been toned down you would have seen him really shine.
It was good to see Adam's excel in the more gritty character Charlene, rather than the usual softer roles she had previously played and it was a flawless performance along with Leo's rendition of Alice.
Actor Jack McGee who played George Ward, the boys' father, also did a wonderful job; the character was more low key and saw him overshadowed constantly by Alice whose opinion in the relationship and towards their kids was more important than his own. George would have been the peace-keeper among the family if he had had the courage more of the time to speak up when he disapproved of a situation. He appeared the only one, other than Charlene, to feel Micky needed to be heard within the family more. There is a side-splitting scene when George has a run in with Dicky. The father finally loses his temper with the unreliable drug addict and as he bolts around a corner 'like a silver backed gorilla' (Micky's words) he grabs Dicky down from a fence and they have a scuffle. Among the few laugh out loud moments, this was really one of my favourites.
The on screen chemistry is great between all characters but the relationship of the two boxing siblings clearly takes centre stage, just as it is intended to do.
Director David O.Russell delivers an emotional drama. The boxing doesn't take centre stage throughout, but when the fighting is on screen it is delivered as realistic as a real boxing match shown on live TV is with the commentary.
I know the film 'Rocky' has the same boxing nature but 'The Fighter' is incomparable with 'Rocky' and I wonder why people continue to compare the two. I would say this film is more along the lines of 'Raging Bull' with its gallant approach and unlikeable characters and 'Million Dollar Baby' with its ability to stir deep emotion within viewers.
The soundtrack within the movie was enjoyable, one song in particular stood out to me during a key scene when you see the two brothers training separately and that was the 'Red Hot Chilli Peppers' song 'Strip my mind'.
'The Fighter' has the run time of 116 minutes and is rated R in the U.S.A and 15 in the U.K. It does contain foul language and some intimate scenes but no full on sex.
Overall I really enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to all, except youngsters. It is quite intense and therefore not a film to be seen if you are after a light and easy watch.
Summary: A gritty and gripping drama