Monday, February 21, 2011

THE FIGHTER

Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams



This biopic tells the story of the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward portrayed by Mark Wahlberg. His much older half brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), a former boxer helped train him to become a professional fighter. The setting is in the early 1990s in a working class neighborhood in suburban America.

Micky lives with Alice (Melissa Leo) his ferocious mother/manager and his 7 rowdy sisters. His father and uncle coach him as well. So Micky finds himself overwhelmed by the eccentricities of his dysfunctional family. To make matters worse, he also has to deal with the drug addiction of Dicky who happens to be his very unreliable trainer. Dicky is being filmed by a camera crew and he thinks they are interested in him because he's planning a ­boxing comeback but actually they are recording the decline and fall of a drug addict.

With Dicky's drug problem overshadowing his brother's training, Micky is on a losing streak. It is only when Micky meets feisty bartender Charlene (Amy Adams) that things start to look up. She persuades him to cut loose from his family to stand a chance in the ring. When Mickey does get a shot at the championship, however, his path to the title bout takes a series of unexpected twists and turns.

Christian Bale pretty much steals the limelight from Mark Wahlberg even though his role is supposed to be in a supporting capacity. His portrayal of the flawed, broken ex boxer was impressive so his nomination in various awards show is well deserved. For research on this role, Mark Wahlberg used to hang out at the Wild Card gym in LA to watch Pacquiao's training sessions for his boxing bouts. So his fighting techniques were on the dot. Much praise also goes to Amy Adams and Melissa Leo for their credible characterization of feisty and strong women.

Overall, I expected a more in depth visualization about the lives of the two brothers. I somehow kept comparing it to "The Wrestler" which gave Mickey Rourke's career a much needed boost. And sadly "The Fighter" fails in comparison. Therefore, the only redeeming aspect of this film would be the good performance by Christian Bale. Otherwise it's just another film about boxing.

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