Saturday, 1 January 2011

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The Fighter [Review]


Opinion: A-

A boxing film that features more domestic family battles over physical sport matches truly renders a significant amount of soul into the story of Mickey Ward and his loved ones. The film's excellence derives from a spectacular cast ensemble despite an interestingly undermined main lead influence over the film and its audience. Consider this one of the better films of 2010.


Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) is a former boxing hero that squandered his talents and threw away his shot at greatness. Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), his half brother, is the struggling journeyman boxer who spent his life living in his big brother's shadow. The Fighter is inspirted by the true story of two brothers who, against all the odds, come together to train for a historic title bout that will unite their fractured family, redeem their pasts and, at last, give their hard-luck town what it's been waiting for: Pride.

Dicky and Micky's tougher-than-nails mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), manages his career and Dicky serves as his highly unreliable trainer. When Micky's latest fight nearly kills him, it looks like it could all be over - until his iron-willed new girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams), convinces him to do the unthinkable: split with his family, pursue his own interests and train without his increasingly volatile and criminal brother.

Now Micky has the chance of a lifetime as he earns a shot at the World Championship. But when his brother and dysfunctional family reenter his life, they must all reconcile their pasts and become more than just a family in name. With Micky and Dicky reunited, this becomes more than just a fight - it's an all-out comeback for these brothers, their family, and their city. When it's over, Micky will have become a World Champion, a Hall of Fame legend, and the new "Pride of Lowell". The Fighter is a moving and often humorous drama about fighting for the people you love.

This is one of those films where one realises the importance of having great actors on the production payroll. David O. Russell's direction is good, but not exceptional in my view. It may see him scoring nominations without victory. A significant amount of the film's success comes straight from the commendable cast performance both individualistic and synergic.

Christian Bale is at the top of his game with an outstanding portrayal of a goofy junkie brother to Micky, who serves as the critical character of the story in my opinion. After all, the changes that Dicky went through in the film transcends expectations and remains a good source of inspiration for the audience.

Bale is thus far, my top choice for Best Supporting Actor in this award season.

The ladies did not remain idle as they wrestled for the audience's attention well with the boys. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo submitted their best with the roles given to them as their supporting roles did not end up in the list of forgettable ones. Both feisty and adamant in their own ways, you'll probably never spot any female personalities as strong as these two ladies in reality.

Both deserve some form of encouragement, if not fated with award season nominations.

Micky's subtle (or subdued) performance as the main lead is somewhat debatable as it is said by some that his role should have been scripted with more influence and impact over the film. After all, he is the intended hero of the show. However, his depicted act of reclining into the background in silence is a logical symptom of having such demanding characters in his life with the likes of Dicky, Alice, and Charlene.

They are all powerful voices in his life.

It is through Micky who will perform both the domestic and physical fight at home and in the ring respectively. Through his fights, he will be the spiritual glue that gels every disagreeing fragments in his life together and hold them tight upon drying. Despite so, I have to agree that while Wahlberg does a good job as Micky, his role didn't offer him much opportunities to shine like an Oscar contender. Micky is a reserved man who is not loud and rash in his response towards resolving matters, all in respect of the voices in his life until they meet in a clash where he finally voices himself out.

This quality in him is similarly reflected in his boxing style, which is described as a slow-burner by sports commentators as the boxing action is broadcasted to us in an interesting "televised" visual treatment. The use of such film treatment might be a mean of getting us in the eyes of a television spectator.

He tends to adopt defensive stances while allowing his opponent to subject him to forceful punches that inflicts tormenting pain for a great deal of rounds before making a stunning comeback. Likewise, the film itself is also similar to Micky's personality trait and fighting style.

It is slow for us in the beginning, a painful misery for Micky and company in the middle, and a sensational satisfaction for everybody in the end.

A highly recommended slow-burner that knocks you out eventually.


4 comments:

  1. Have seen this film too but not yet published a full review. I'm really agree with your opinion, this film is truly one of 2010's bests.

    By the way, Happy New Year J-Son! Hope the new year will bring you good luck and happiness.

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  2. Greap post J, have not seen this one yet but really want too soon, Bale just seems to deliver every time.
    Happy New Year!

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  3. @Jaccstev Yes looking forward to your review on this soon, Happy New Year Jaccstev! =D

    @JEMSEN Happy New Year to you, I hope you had a great start to 2011 so far! ;)

    @Dempsey Yes you should catch it real soon if it is screening at your nearest cinema, it's one of the award season gem. I hope you'll like it as well as I did. Happy New Year Demps! =D

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