The Fighter: The Real Contender

January 6, 2011

The Fighter, USA, 2010

Directed by David O. Russell

the fighter mark wahlberg christian bale sparring arts and entertainment playgroundIt’s been a while since I’ve seen a good sports movie where the sport plays a major role. In David O Russell’s The Fighter there’s so much richness of character and story, I could hardly pick what I liked more. Since this is a biopic, the film had to keep within certain boundaries and it does so beautifully. Chock full of small town drama, family troubles, demons from the past, and dreams to be champion, it’s no wonder this film will be making a strong showing on Oscar night.

The film effortlessly takes you into the world of Lowell, Massachusetts, where a mixture of predominately Irish inhabitants make up a small town searching for identity. Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), a former boxer and the “Pride of Lowell,” is still stuck in the past reliving his former career, but now his delusions are aided by a crack addiction. Micky (Mark Wahlberg), Dicky’s younger brother, is an up-and-coming boxer who lives in Dicky’s shadow. He loves his family, perhaps a little too much, and sacrifices himself for the good of his brother, mother, and his sisters well being. It’s only until he begins a relationship with Charlene (Amy Adams) that he realizes he needs to think more of himself.

Conflict ensues and,while Micky’s family begins to crumble, he finally sees his career blossom. Now in prison, Dicky still mentors his brother from the inside and helps keep Micky’s rise on track. On the verge of a title shot Micky realizes he needs everyone in his corner to go the distance, but will they find common ground and come together in time?

The acting in the film is superb and portrays one of the more realistic town settings I’ve seen in a long time. It has all the realistic characteristics of a small town where everyone in the town knows each other. When you do well, they are your most supportive fans, when you lose, they are your most critical doubters. The chemistry between Adams and Wahlberg is endearing and strong, but it’s the chemistry between Christian Bale and Mark Wahberg that takes this film to a whole other level which transcends sports films.

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