Film Review: The Fighter

Full Title: The Fighter
Year: 2010
Director: Davd O. Russell
Comments: From the very first shot of Marky Mark (“Irish” Micky Ward) and Christian Bale (Dicky Eklund) in a private, documentary, interview I had a feeling I was in for something special. Which, in retrospect seems retarded, but I just had the feeling and it turns out my gut was right. Since the film was set in Lowell it was nice being able to recognize the scenery and really makes the city a character. Overall, I enjoyed this film very much, much more than most movies I see, for two main reasons: 1) It’s heart. It sounds cliched, a boxing movie with heart, but the emotion here is real. It feels real. When Dicky reaches his worst bouts as a crackhead it’s more than painful to watch. I don’t want to give away too much, but in one particular scene we watch Dicky and his family as they watch a documentary about Dicky on what it is like to truly be addicted to crack. This is easily the most chilling part of the film. Which goes into my second point. 2) The flawless acting of Christian Bale. Bale is not himself. He is 100% Dicky, it’s scary how well he plays the part. In many ways he is the film, or at least its backbone, but considering this is supposed to be a biopic on Micky Ward, Walhberg’s character that takes this flick down a few notches. Walhberg and the crew do a decent job, but they pale next to Bale; his performance criticizes everyone else’s acting. I’d be suprised if he didn’t win the acamedy award for Best Supporting Actor or at least the nomination. With that being said, it’s just not the Dicky situation lol, it’s also the film’s structure itself. It tries too hard to do too many things. In other words, it should stick to emulating Raging Bull (1980) or emulating Rocky (1976), neither of which it comes close to. At some points it seems like they are tossing a love story at us, but this storyline is never quite pursued. And most significantly, the character of Micky isn’t developed enough for me to really care as much about him as say Dicky, whom I’m far more concerned with. Considering this is the main character in the film this should be noted. With all of these shortcomings one might think The Fighter
is a bad film… no way! Far from it. This movie is better and more entertaining than most flicks you will see at the show and I’d go as far as to say this is probably one of the better films of twenty ten, certainly amongst the best I’ve seen. So, in spite of it’s somewhat shambling screenplay, I really enjoyed this film and I highly recommend it. All in all, not an “excellent” film, but an above average film filled with some moments/scenes of excellence. I’ve heard some reviewers say the film should have been about Dicky instead of Micky, after reflecting on the movie myself, I share the same sentiment.

Grade: 8/10

Here is the link for High On Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, the actual documentary on Dicky Eklund and crack addiction in Lowell, MA.

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