Director: David O Russell
Producers: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Ryan Kavanaugh, Mark Wahlberg, Dorothy Aufiero, Paul Tamasy
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
When you walk in to watch The Fighter, you sit with a few preconceived notions that since it is a film about boxing it might be somewhat similar to Sylvester Stallone’s successful Hollywood franchisee Rocky. But five minutes into the movie and all your presumptions are knocked out.
The film is an inspirational biopic about a professional boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) from Lowell in U.S.A. It takes a peak into the life of Ward and his family’s struggles to help him bag the international boxing title, simultaneously showcasing a tumultuous yet loving relationship with his brother who is a onetime boxing champion as well as Ward’s coach.
The screenplay is tight and the editing is nifty – a must for a sports drama. Like any sports film, the climax, though predictable, wins all the accolades as it has all the elements, making you sit on the edge, with the timely adrenaline rush. The detail to music is quite commendable as the soundtrack (mostly comprising some heavy metal classics) brings in a great wave of excitement especially in some of the training and fight sequences.
Some scenes have been crafted quite well like two instances where the camera rolls in from one end of a telephone wire and zooms in slowly to the other end, while charting the progression of another scene. Hindi dubbing is good.
As for the performances, Christian Bale’s depiction of a middle-aged crack addict and the former “pride of Lowell” is refreshing and exceptional. Melissa Leo’s portrayal as the loud, hard-nosed, no-nonsense mother is spot on. Amy Adams is average. Wahlberg delivers a good restrained representation of Ward and lending a great balance to all the hard-hitting performances in the film. His cool as a cucumber recluse behavior is a sharp contrast to that of almost everyone in the film.
Just like Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours (based on a true incident) it has almost become customary for Hollywood films based on real-life incidents to reveal a small video diary of the actual people at the end of the film. The Fighter has a similar ending too, and that lends an interesting sneak peak to the resemblance between the reel and the real life characters. In all, a good film, definitely worth a ringside view.
Verdict: Go for it!