The Fighter Review

15 12 2010

Photo by JOJO WHILDEN – © 2010 Fighter, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Director David O. Russell’s gritty look at Junior Welterweight boxing icon Micky Ward (the spelling of Micky was an actual real-life printing mishap during the early part of his career) is a captivating tale of the ups and downs of the boxing culture.

The Fighter spans Micky’s early boxing career through to his light welterweight title shot against Brit Shea Neary.  Though the film revolves around the people closest to the boxing icon:  his brother Dick Eklund, his mother Alice and his wife Charlene. Mark Whalberg re-teams with his Three Kings director O. Russel to bring to life the Lowell, Mass. legend.

The movie originally a project for Matt Damon and Brad Pitt came into the lap of Relativity Media who transformed the big budget fight film into a low budget independent project with Whalberg and the always dynamic Christian Bale replacing Damon and Pitt as Ward and Eklund.

Christian Bale (as Dickie Eklund) and Mark Wahlberg (as Micky Ward) star in “The Fighter.” (Jojo Whilden).

The up and down career of Micky mirrored his brother Dicky’s drug battles and its those back-and-forth battles that captivates us for the entire film.  From the film’s opening of Micky working along the street we are introduced to his older brother who demands all the attention and carries the action for everyone around him.  Its that demeanor that we witness for the entire film all the way through to the poignant real-life look at Micky and Dicky shown during the end credits.  In other words, be prepared for another incredible (very possibly award-winning…OSCAR?) performance by Christian Bale.  We’ve seen him pull off the biggest “physical” transformation from THE MACHINIST to BATMAN BEGINS, and we’ll now see it as he jumps to the final Batman film: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  His gaunt look and crack addiction is a haunting and lasting image of Dicky Eklund.  Though Melissa Leo as the equally demanding Alice, is also being touted for an award filled 2010 and 2011.  The sequences between Dicky and Alice are in particular some of the most fascinating.  You wish these two would see past their past heroics (specifically Dicky’s own boxing career) and help Micky.

Photo credit: JoJo Whilden © 2010 Fighter, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Though the task of actually saving Micky’s career falls to his girlfriend and eventual wife, Charlene Fleming, played by Amy Adams.

Photo credit: JoJo Whilden © 2010 Fighter, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We’re immediately intrigued by the beautiful and brash young woman that catch’s Micky’s eye.  Her foul-mouth gives her the edge that helps Micky see that his family aren’t the only ones that care about him.  She’s the person that gives Micky his courage.  That same courage that would turn him into a boxing icon after legendary brawls with the likes of Emanuel Augustus (google their fight – its a top 5 of all-time!!), Zab Judah, Vince Phillips and of course his award-winning trilogy with Arturo Gatti (quite possibly the greatest boxing trilogy ever).  But none of those fights are even showcased in Russel’s look at Ward.  Russell’s film doesn’t need to try and recreate those famous battles, instead he shows the side of Micky that most people aren’t familiar with.  The side of Micky that built him from a “stepping stone” fighter into a world class champion.  We see the side of Micky that had to carry the burdens of his family, specifically his crack-addicted brother, on his worn out shoulders.  The power and mystic of this film always comes back to Christian Bale’s amazing performance. 

Photo credit: JoJo Whilden © 2010 Fighter, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

A must see film that will be on most people’s top ten list (hint hint.) and of course watch out for Russell, Leo, and Bale taking home numerous awards for their fine work.  Don’t be shocked if Amy Adams doesn’t take home an award or two for her powerful portrayal.  Enjoy the trailer and then GO SEE THIS FILM!!!




One response

16 12 2010

Say hello to your mother for me.

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