Review: The Fighter (2011)

“That guy did not just get off the fuckin’ couch. If he did, I’m gonna get a couch like that.”

The Fighter is a biographical boxing film starring Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys), Christian Bale (Batman Begins) and Amy Adams (Julie & Julia). The film is directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings and I ♥ Huckabees).

The film is based on the life of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) who is the older half-brother of Ward. It’s based in the mid 1980s before Micky Ward went pro and Dicky Eklund who helped train him at the time. The story portrays family tensions as Ward gets frustrated and disillusioned with his boxing career. This doesn’t help by the fact his mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) is his manager – not to mention that Eklund is his trainer whilst half the time being high on crack.

The Fighter has been one of my ‘must see’ films of this year and was glad I got an advance screening of it and worth the 2.30 am bedtime!

Mark Wahlberg is very good in it but I feel that he’s the weakest character in the film. There wasn’t anything spectacular about his acting compared to his fellow cast members. This is Wahlberg’s third collaboration with director David O. Russell as well – the pair worked with each other on Three Kings and ♥ Huckabees. 

After two Batman films and a Terminator ‘meltdown’ it’s really refreshing to see Christian Bale back to ‘proper’ acting. Say what you will about the man but in my opinion, he’s one of the best actors around at the moment. He’s portrayal of Dicky Eklund is phenomenal and it was a genuine treat to see Bale act so well.

Melissa Leo and Amy Adams make up the backup cast. Melissa Leo is great, playing that controlling yet somewhat unlikeable character – you never really root for her or feel sorry when certain events break down in the film. Amy Adams however, is terrific. This is her finest performance yet and is a joy to watch – she suits that kind of strong willed girl and I’d like to see her play more of those type of characters in the future.

David O. Russell has directed a fantastic film. The cinematography is well shot and kept be interested. There wasn’t at any point of the film that I lost focus at. I particularly enjoyed on how the boxing scenes were done, it felt like you were watching a fight on TV and liked the use of it – felt more personal. The though has one of the best opening scenes I’ve seen in a film that leads up to the title.

Like I said, I really enjoyed the film and thought it was brilliant. Even though I’m not a boxing fan I didn’t find it boring. The acting is great with Bale and Adams simply showing us there acting chops – fully deserving of any award nominations that come there way. Also, any film that uses a Red Hot Chili Pepper song in it gets extra credit from me as well from an already incredible film. I’m giving this 5/5.

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