Based on a true story
Kate B. O'Brien
Running Time: 115 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
The Fighter is based on the real life story of semi-legendary boxer Micky Ward (Wahlberg) as he struggles to get going during the Nineties. Trained by his ex-boxer, now druggie, brother Dicky (Bale) and local policeman O’Keefe (played by himself) and managed by his overbearing mother (Leo), Micky is messed around by his clan and finds it hard to move up the boxing ladder. Things get especially tricky when he gets into a relationship with the fesity Charlene (Adams) and his brother gets in trouble with the law.
The success of The Fighter is that it really gets beneath the surface of boxing away from the glitz and glamour that dominates its public image. Russell’s movie primarily concentrates on the story behind Micky Ward’s rise through the ranks as he has to contend with a warring trailer trash family, a washed up drug-abusing brother and a girlfriend who’s not exactly the flavour of the month, however, when called upon the fight sequences are expertly done with some parts shown in grainy retro footage and others in close-up high definition showing all the brutality of a fight. Also surprisingly, The Fighter shows a lot of humour especially with the dynamics of the redneck family and the Yoko Ono figure of Charlene.
After being gazumped in The Dark Knight by the show-stealing supporting performance of Heath Ledger, Bale has done it himself as Dicky, the motormouth sibling. Bale does stoned very well and simultaneously bring pathos, revulsion and likeability to the character. Amy Adams and Vanessa Leo are also excellent as the strong women of the piece as their character’s are way more than just as the obligatory piece a piece of ass and hard-as-nails mother (respectively).
Having said all this, I think the Oscar buzz is not all that deserved as, at the end of the day, it never overwhelms and it is a little too conventional to win the highest accolade.
It's Got: A superb Christian Bale performance, realism, the ugly sisters, humour
It Needs: To be seen by non-boxing fans as it's not really about boxing
A real knockout. A cut above the rest. Punching above it’s weight. Has a fighting chance at the Oscars. In summary, it’s pretty good.