A marksman living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the President. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to find the real killer and the reason he was set up.
The Fighter is a drama about boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's unlikely road to the world light welterweight title. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer on the verge of being KO'd by drugs and crime. Written by
Wow, what a movie. It's an inspirational true story of a boxer finally getting his break. It's also a story of addiction, and how it can affect loved ones. And above all, it's about family. There are some great boxing scenes in THE FIGHTER, they feel authentic and brutal, but the true fight is really outside the ring. Which is not to say this is an overbearing melodrama, no, far from it. It handles the subject matter gracefully. It has a lot of heart and can be quite funny, and there are some humorously absurd moments, something director David O. Russell has proved to be very good at providing.
Mark Wahlberg gives a great performance playing the lead character, Micky. This is Wahlberg's most reserved and complex role to date. Micky has an unbreakable devotion to his family, which both strengthens and cripples him. He never really speaks for himself, and would rather suffer than upset those around him. Through the course of the movie the character really grows, thanks to the help of a good woman by his side. Mark Wahlberg shows a side of himself we've never seen before, this isn't the over-the-top badass THE DEPARTED Wahlberg, which don't get me wrong, is awesome too, but he finds a different range here. Truly the guy has come a long way from The Funky Bunch.
Christian Bale is absolutely phenomenal in his scene-stealing role as Micky's drug-addicted brother. This is such a great character that Bale really brings a lot of depth to. Dicky's easily angered, often detached and oblivious to how his affliction is affecting his life. He's also ashamed and vulnerable. He's not the most reliable guy in the world and he's in need of a serious wake-up call. But the thing is...you can completely understand why Micky would stand by him for so long. Underneath it all, he really is a great guy, full of energy and affection- somebody you'd really want in your corner. This is sure to go down as one of Bale's most remembered roles, and hopefully his enormous talent will finally be recognized by winning an Academy Award for it.
Behind every great man is a great woman, and Amy Adams also delivers a fantastic performance as Micky's girlfriend, who really helps him develop some backbone and at the same time is able to find some clarity in her misguided life. She's great in her role, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't thoroughly enjoy the eye-candy she brings to the movie. She has her fair share of revealing outfits and in one scene is shown wearing a see-through bra. Now THAT'S great filmmaking!
Also notable, just because it stood out to me, is that Conan O'Brien's sister, Kate, has a role in the movie, playing one of Micky's sisters. I sort of wish I wasn't privy to this information before seeing it because her resemblance to the goofy talk show host is uncanny...and a little disturbing.
I don't know why a lot of the most involving sports movies happen to be about boxing, I guess there's just something so primal and against all logic about people that get the crap beaten out of them for a living. It's worth knowing what makes these people tick. Yes, this is based on a true story, but I'm sure it's been tailored to fit Hollywood needs. Events have likely been rearranged and certain moments probably fabricated or altered, but THE FIGHTER doesn't attempt to portray the family shown here in a completely positive light. Nobody is a saint here, and everyone has their faults. When it finally arrives at its conclusion it is relieving, satisfying, and yes, inspiring. This is ultimately a happy story well deserving to be told on film but the sad reality is that there are no doubt hundreds and hundreds of similar stories that didn't end up quite as well. I can't tell you what exactly makes the family depicted in this movie so special. Maybe they're stronger, and more willing to compromise, and just maybe a little lucky, too. But I was left recalling a scene from the movie THE STRAIGHT STORY, where Richard Farnsworth lays down some wisdom upon a teenage runaway: he told her how he would give each of his kids a stick and ask them to snap them, which was easy. Then he'd give them a whole bundle, which couldn't be broken. "That's family."
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