Monday, 31 January 2011

The Fighter

Oh cinema, you really are spoiling us. First 127 Hours, then Tangled, then The King's Speech, then Black Swan, and now this!? I've lost all concept of what makes films bad anymore, because they all seem to be flippin' masterpieces!

Apart from it's title, there's nothing bland about The Fighter. The film depicts the true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), and his struggle to make something out of his dwindling career. His brother and trainer, Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) is both Micky's best friend and worst enemy. Whilst having all the boxing know-how of an ex-pro (he's The Pride of Lowell, don't ya know), he also has the habits of teenage crack addict. The pull from Micky's family ties and his desire to have a real shot at the title is the main focus point of the movie, and makes for a very satisfying family drama.

From the very first shot it's obvious that Bale is here to steal the show once again as the eccentric and semi-masochistic trainer/brother. His mannerism and speech just scream authenticity, especially when we compare him to the real Dicky seen in the end credits. Wahlberg does a fine job, although you can't help but feel he's playing the same quiet but nice guy he always plays.

God knows how they got some of these shots.

But it is David O. Russel who should be commended for showing us something truly rare: unique boxing scenes. Skipping from audience reaction, to television footage, to close-ups of knock-out blows, I found myself flinching everytime Micky took a punch to the stomach. The final fight in particular makes you forgive its overly long running time and become an uncontrollable nervous wreck. Seriously, it was like seeing Rocky for the first time. And I do not say that lightly.

In any other year it would have won Best Picture at the Oscars. Shame it's got such tough competition this year.

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