BSH's Review of The Fighter
Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) is a hero of Lowell, Mass., having fought Sugar Ray Leonard and knocked him down. While Dicky -- who's now a crack junkie and can't really handle any serious affairs -- prepares for his "comeback," his younger brother, Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), is on the rise. With the help of his new girlfriend, Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams), Mickey must eventually decide to leave his family behind to seriously concentrate on his career. Can he make it on his own, or does he really need the help of his unreliable older brother?
The intense, almost biblical relationship of brothers is a time-honoured tradition in movie boxing. Director David O Russell effectively reverses the polarity of Brando's famous final speech in On the Waterfront: Dicky really was a contender, he really was somebody, and now that he's a bum, his brother Micky really is looking out for him - more than just a little bit - while trying to be a contender-somebody himself.
Russell has one really good scene: at the beginning, as his camera follows Dicky and Micky parading down the street, preening themselves in the neighbourhood, being followed by a camera crew recording what Dicky thinks is a positive documentary about his "comeback". In fact, it is something quite different. It ends with an exhilarating, disorientating whoosh as the camera suddenly reverses away from the scene, as if recoiling from imminent calamity.