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Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
All Critics (241)
| Top Critics (45)
| Fresh (218)
| Rotten (23)
| DVD (2)
Both Wahlberg and Bale are excellent in their different registers, as are Melissa Leo and Amy Adams as the differently calibrated women.
The Fighter looks at first as if it is going to be a far more interesting movie than the straightforward and even rather undemanding drama we finally get.
A flawed, frequently ludicrous but overwhelmingly likeable film, old-school to the core and none the worse for it.
Though director David O Russell does embrace the feel-good cliches embedded into movie folklore by Rocky, he does so with a rousing conviction that pushes all the right buttons.
Makes too many concessions to the Hollywood judges, pulls too many punches.
The Fighter is so muscularly and tenderly good because it trains its eye on the matches that take place between kin.
This is Bale's movie. The film is at its very best when the Russell's camera is trained upon his hyperactive, ego centric muse.
The Fighter is, if not a champion film for all time, a very good, poignant, and commendable expression of its era-postindustrial working-class urban America, bereft of history as it is bereft of jobs, strong unions, pride in one's work.
There's something powerful and real about The Fighter.
Overall The Fighter is a touching, soulful knockout of a movie.
The Fighter feels like it's barreling toward full-on Greek tragedy, and it has its painful patches, but ultimately-forgive me-the film pulls a lot of punches.
But while this was amusing in a comedic or satiric context, it backfires in a dramatic narrative in which the protagonist should warrant our sympathies.
the thing about boxing movies is that they're boxing movies, it's hard to get out of the rut, yah? rich performances by all concerned in this take, wherein "the fighter"'s biggest fight is with his derelict family: ma (leo, superb as the mom you love to hate to love) dotes on the oldest boy (bale, unrecognisable as a smooth talkin' crackhead hasbeen), rags on the not strong enough current dad (mcgee, honorably in honorless shoes) while supporting a den of useless greek chorus sisters. how to get ahead then? how about listening to nearly faded small town jewel (adams, shimmering)? cliches, yes, american cliches, played out from sea to shining sea every day, transcended here by powerhouse performances, making this a worthy addition into the wealth of american as apple pie boxing movies.
It is always a pleasure to see a sincere drama that doesn't give in to cheap clichés or easy melodrama but is instead a compelling film that simply relies on the power of a true story and the strength of an altogether perfect ensemble cast.
A dysfunctional family both supports and cripples their son's aspiring boxing career. While Wahlberg as the fighter is more or less the obvious choice it's Bale as his drug-using coach and brother who steals every scene and delivers an outstanding (and Oscar-awarded) performance. Same goes for Melissa Leo as their mother. The film works best in the moments that feel very real and often have a great, realistic sense of humor. Only the last act follows the traditional sports drama path a bit too predictably. Overall the result is still highly entertaining and engaging, mostly thanks to the good writing and the stellar performances.
It's so hard to make a boxing film that really stands out anymore, so thankfully, this one didn't really try and did something I respect even more: it's just a damn solid, well-made, and very entertaining film, the occasional predictable moments or cliches aside.
If I had to pick something about it (besides the above) that does set it apart, it is the acting, but you probably may have that one figured out (unless you ignore reviews, the Oscars, or internet message boards). The odd thing here though, is that, even though this is about (part of) the story of Micky Ward, the supporting characters (especially Dicky), are such scene stealers and far more memorable, that you'd think the movie is really about them.
In a way, this is true. It's mostly about Micky, but more about the role of those aroudn Micky, and how they shape and affect his life, especially his crackhead brother Dicky, trashy, overbearing, selfish mother Alice, and his seven equally trashy sisters. Besides being an underdog story, this film shows the bond of family (no matter how messed up), as well as the effects of being washed up and addicted to drugs.
This is a story that could have been told all kinds of ways, and in David O. Russell's hands, it plays essentially like a docudrama. In fact, some of this is so well done and convincing that it seems closer to truth than fiction. It probably helps that locals are used to play themselves or people they know, and that this was all shot on location. Lowell, as shown here, is not really a place I wanna see anytime soon.
As I said already, the acting is great, Wahlberg is actually the most low-key and toned down. Maybe that's a good thing. It makes the character less interesting, but everyone else is so over the top and showy that we need a more subtle performance to anchor things. Leo and Bale are tremendous, and their Oscars were well deserved, but they may have laid it on just a tad too thick. Adams is also great, especially since she lays against type, and succeeds.
There's not a whole lot new here, but this is a really hard film to dislike, It's pretty solid, but not air tight. They could have made Ward a bit more interesting, and maybe included his trilogy of fights with Gatti, but apparently they are planning a sequel that will focus solely on just that, so there you go. This is very real, but maybe too real, too painful to watch at times. That's not to say that it's unwatchable though, because I certainly was never bored, and always found at least one thing to enjoy frame by frame.
Go check this out. I give it a B+
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