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The Fighter
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
David O. Russell

Written By:
Scott Silver, Eric Johnson, Eric Johnson, Paul Tamasy, Keith Dorrington

Cast:
Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Robert Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, Dendrie Taylor, Jack McGee, Jenna Lamia, Bianca Hunter, Sean Patrick Doherty, Erica McDermott, Salvatore Santone, Anthony Molinari, Hunter Wilichoski, Jeffrey Corazzini, Bo Cleary, Dale Place, Rich Rothbell, Jeremiah Kissel, Paul Locke, Oscar J. Castillo, Bonnie Aarons, Barry Ace, Charlie Alejandro, Cindi Alex, Joseph Basile, Alexandra Bussell, Gino Cafarelli, Katelyn Cahill, Jenifer Cononico, Jonathan Coogan, Lee M. Cunningham, Kevin DeCoste, Shawn Doherty, Jean Elie, Suzanne England, Susan Farese, Jeffrey Feingold, Alison Folland, Rick Fuller, David J. Garfield, Suzanne Gillies, Albert Gornie, Sophya Gudelman, Joel B. Hayden, Patrick Mel Hayes, Frankie Imbergamo, Haytham Kandil, Edward M. Kelahan, Lauren Leech, Jerrell Lee, Darren Le Gallo, Dan Marshall, Jeff Martineau, Vanessa McCaffrey, Lorin McCraley, Americo Presciutti, Carrie Ann Quinn, Frank Renzulli, Eric Ryan, Megan Sacco, Steve Scarfo, Lala Khanian, Jackson Nicoll, Sugar Ray Leonard, Caitlin Dwyer, Sue Costello, Jackson Nicoll, Kate B. O'Brien, Melissa McMeekin, Danielle Druz, Lindsey Warm, Richard Farrell, James Shalkoski Jr., Simon Hamlin, Joe Lupino, Kenn Medeiros, Steven Barkhimer, Vyvian b Stevens, Mel Alejandro, Clyde Anthony, Al Conti, D.W. Cormier, Christopher J. Davis, Luisa Diaz, Sean Doyle, John Franchi, Jonna Gillis, Conan Marchi, Rob Marin, Dave Neal, Henry Penzi, Victoria Saunders, Savannah Rae Shiever, Robert Slocum, Briggon Snow, Vinnie Varon, David Weindel, Booker James Winter, Chanty Sok, Kt Baldassaro, Brina, Kim Carrell, Kimko

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The Fighter (2010)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
December 20th, 2010

'The Fighter' is a gripping sports drama that evokes both the feel-good triumphs of Rocky and the bitterness and brutality of Raging Bull. It is based on the real-life exploits of Irish boxer Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), whose most famous bouts were against Arturo Gatti; Ward went pro in 1985, and went on hiatus in 1990, after four consecutive losses. He is convinced by his half-brother, Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), to enter the ring again, with Dickie serving as his trainer, and adviser.

Dicky is a former boxer himself, now struggling with drug addiction, in and out of prison, repeating a story of how he once knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard, a story that is at least partially be true. This is his sole claim to fame, and he stubbornly clings to it, and we can see a once promising career that has entered a steep decline and will never fully recover. He lives vicariously through Mickey, but also does not prepare him for long-term success.

Dicky simply wants Mickey to win money, rather than titles, so when Mickey is approached by an interested manager willing to pay for his training and give him a real shot at the big leagues, Dicky chases off, and badmouths, this interloper, exploiting Mickey's sense of familial loyalty, and feelings of guilt, derived as they are, from lack of motivation, and concern that he is a disappointment to his elder sibling, and to his mother, Alice (Melissa Leo). Mickey learns to distance himself from their influence, though, and charts his own course, until Dicky re-enters the picture, after yet another stint in jail, with a renewed commitment to Mickey, who wins several matches using a strategy Dicky taught to him.

The film's strength lies primarily in its wonderful performances. Wahlberg has a convincing, potent physicality and a startling sensitivity that makes him perfect for the role of Mickey Ward. The fight sequences are portrayed and choreographed realistically, and succeed largely because of Wahlberg, and how expertly he mimics the graceful movements and sharp reflexes of a professional pugilist. We can feel every blow that batters Mickey's bruised and bloodied face, and the faces of his opponents.

It is a truly grueling and punishing sport, and that is conveyed tremendously here. Christian Bale, though, will probably receive the most attention, and possibly an Oscar nomination, for his performance as Dicky. He captures every distinct, quirky mannerism, and simmers with a hyperactive intensity and, as in The Machinist, he lost quite a bit of weight, so as to inhabit this character more fully. Melissa Leo makes Alice into a ferocious maternal presence that is not easily forgotten.

Amy Adams is electrifying as Charlene, Mickey's headstrong bartender girlfriend, who helps him plan his future, and is not afraid to stand up to Alice, or to Mickey's seven trashy, lecherous sisters. It is a juicy, fascinating, and complicated role, which gives Adams a lot to work with, and showcases the undeniable talent she has displayed in the past, notably in stuff like Doubt and Junebug. I expect an Oscar nod for her, as well.

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