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
Art Ramalho's gym is a real-life gym in the West End of Lowell, MA. Micky Ward trained there, and it's still a functioning boxing gym. See more »
Micky and Charlene are shown meeting before his fight with Mike Mungin, which occurred in 1988. In real life, Micky and Charlene did not meet until 2000 around the time of his fight with Shea Neary. See more »
Does David O. Russell's 'The Fighter' follow the formula of underdog surpassing all obstacles and winning in the end (as is the case with this genre)? The answer is yes but 'The Fighter' still manages to maintain a unique quality. First of all, the four principle characters: Micky, Dicky, Charlene and Alice are unlike anyone one has seen in this kind of film.
They are wonderfully defined and the actors who portray them are cast against type and turn in their finest performance. Both Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are like you've never seen them before and they appear very natural on screen. Mark Wahlberg is superly restrained and Christian Bale does one of his best works of his entire career. They are supported by a host of impressive actors.
In addition to the marvelous performances, the makeup department has done a remarkable job, especially by making Leo look old enough to play Bale and Wahlberg's mother. Bale actually does look years older than Wahlberg (when in reality he's a year younger) and that just adds more to the authenticity.
From the opening sequence, I was under the impression that 'The Fighter' was going to be a documentary-type movie but O. Russell tricks and surprises the audience with that. His execution is subtle unlike the loud approach which other directors commonly follow.
For me 'The Fighter', is more about the human connection than the sports itself. Boxing is clearly a metaphor as is the title which has multiple meanings. Even though he's been constantly let down by his family, Micky chose to give them a second chance and have them by his side. Even though Charlene disapproves Alice and Dicky's involvement in Micky's career, Dicky attempts to persuade her because he knows that Micky won't stand a chance without her by his side. Even though Alice and Charlene don't see eye to eye, there's a silent acceptance between them as they know that Micky needs them both.
I am really beginning to have more respect for Mark Wahlberg for producing gems like this (in addition to some amazing TV-series like 'In Treatment', 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Entourage') and his growth as an actor is obviously apparent (he just needs to avoid tripe like 'The Happening' at all costs).
'The Fighter' is a winner on various levels.
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