Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Fighter

Year: 2010
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams

In My Own Words
I know, I know, but better late than never! I wanted to see "The Fighter" as soon as it was released. It just made it a tad difficult that it was released when I was overseas in a country where it hadn't been released yet, and was going to be released after Ieft. It would have made a lot more sense if I had reviewed this film before the Oscars...but better late than never! It's always hard trying to judge whether someone will win an Oscar for their acting talents in a particluar film when you haven't seen the film. However, these days you can pretty much telll whether they are going to win or not based on how many awards they win before the Oscars. Now, having finally seen "The Fighters", I can say that Christian Bale and Melissa Leo are deserved of their Oscars. Leo has redeemed herself slightly in my eyes now that I have since the film she won the award for, as I was really not impressed with her dropping the "F bomb" onstage upon recieving her award. There are some places that that word is just not appropriate for, and the most prestigious film event of the year is one of those places. She does have...interesting fashion sense as well as she showed at the Independent Spirit Awards. But she was given the Oscar based on her performance in "The Fighter" so let's just focus on that.

On that subject, the Best Supporting Actress category at the Oscars this year was probably the most competitive I have seen in years and any one of the five actresses nominated could have walked home with it.  Amy Adams was brilliant in this film, just as Melissa Leo was. Adams is another star who has come so close scooping up an Oscar and still hasn't taken the gold man home. This was her third nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category, with her first two being for her roles in "Junebug" and "Doubt". Adams is one of those rare actresses who is completely versatile. She can do the sugar and spice roles and make everyone fall in love, and she can also do the dramatic roles which will, more often than not, land her an Oscar nomination. I have no doubt she will eventually scoop one up. You never know what her playing Janis Joplin in the upcoming film "Janis Joplin: Get It While You Can" will do for her!

On another note, we all know what is going on in Japan at the moment with the earthquake and the tsunami. It is completely heartbreaking and terrifying to watch. There have been several world events in the past few months like this such as the floods in Queensland in Australia and the eartquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, which are horrifying to watch and can make you feel pretty horrible. In times like this when watching the news gets us down, we can be thankful for film. Film provides you an escape from reality, if only for an hour or two. They're not going to fix the world, but they can take you away from the terror for a few hours and depending on the film, can help you to remember that there is so much beauty in this world and many things we can be thankful for. Say a prayer for those in Japan, we're thinking of you.

These are my own words and here is my review.


David O. Russell's masterpiece, "The Fighter" is one of the best sports films to come out in years. Whether boxing is your thing or not, this film completely captures you from beginning to end. "The Fighter" isn't so much about boxing than it is about the character in it and the relationships they form. It is a perfect character cased film, and how many awards and nominations it had for the stars during awards season is perfect proof of this. The film is based on the true story of boxer, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his brother and trainer, Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Dicky, once a boxer himself, has plummeted into cocaine addiction and eventually lands himself in prison. "The Fighter" looks at the relationship between the brothers and the whole Ward family and the lingering question is, does Micky stand a better chance of taking the world welterweight championship with out or without Dicky and his family's influence?

The best part about this film is indeed the acting. Mark Wahlberg gives a splendid performance as Micky Ward. However, it does feel as though he is constantly overshadowed by his supporting actors. Wahlberg's Micky is perhaps the easiest role to play in the movie. He does it well, but it isn't too much of a change from Wahlberg's other roles and he isn't taking any great risks in his role. However, Wahlberg is one of the producers of "The Fighter" so credit must be given to him in his achievement of the film overall. Christian Bale gives a career best performance as Dicky, the older brother with the addictive and slight offbeat personality. Bale completely becomes his character in every way and you completely forget that you are watching Christian Bale and truly believe that you are seeing the real Dicky Eklund on the screen. He is definately deserving of his Oscar and every other award he has taken home for this role. Melissa Leo also gives a superb performance as Alice Ward, Micky and Dicky's obsessive mother. Like Bale, she completley transforms herself into the character, both in mannerisms and in appearence. She isn't a likable character, but great to watch and captivating in every scene she is in. One tends to back Mickey's girlfriend, Charlene Fleming, played by Amy Adams over Alice. Adams plays smart mouthed Charlene perfectly. Although she can be quite crass at times, she is generally likable and the audience identifies with her as the one who stands by her man through thick and thin. She captures just the right amount of emotion for every scenario in every scene and is completely relatable.

The acting isn't the only thing about this film that is brilliant about this film. The construction of these characters and the way they are portrayed on screen is the result of a great achievement in direction by David O. Russell. He knows the ins and outs of all of the characters and passes on all his knowledge to his actors. The film is tightly knit and absolutely captivating from beginning to end. The script is very well written and every scene is meaningful. The cinematography is also brilliant. One of the great moments of cinematography is the way which Russell focuses in on Micky's fighting hand and the way which his hand shows the way he feels about each of the charcaters he forms a relationship with. Unlike the majority of other sports related films, this film isn't as feel good as the others. Yet it does make you feel good. It is another one of those amazing films which make you happy just by watching it and witnessing something fantastic.

"The Fighter" is a masterpiece by David O. Russell. He has brought to the big screen a story of tragedy and triumph with colourful characters and beautiful film making. This film will always be remembered for the amazing performances by the amazing actors who took part and shined.


  1. Bale is amazing in this role and deserved that Oscar that he won, as well as Melissa Leo. Wahlberg is also great in this role, giving a very quiet every-day man performance. Good Review!

  2. Good review of "The Fighter." I agree with everything you said about the film. What I thought was totally inapprpriate was you inserting your personal views on Melissa Leo's "F" bomb. This is a movie review! If you want to write a column on social mores, feel free to write it. Why are you not critical of the "TV networks, ABC included, which accept millions of dollars in advertising revenues from drug companies selling erectile dysfunction drugs, which they then put on the air during prime time? Can you just hear the children? "Mommy and daddy, ABC did a wonderful thing by bleeping that naughty word Melissa Leo said so that I did not have to hear it, but what is a four(4) hour erection?

  3. @ Anonymous
    I understand what you are saying and I think I better explain my blog a bit better for you. The first part of my entries are "In My Own Words". "In My Own Words" isn't a critical review. "In My Own Words" is my personal opinions about anything I feel like talking about which have got anything related to the film. For example, if you look back at my other reviews, you will see that I talk about how current affairs in Australia relate to one of the films in my opinion. "In My Own Words" is the opinion part of my entries. The second part which is entitled "Review" is a critical review only about the movie, and this is the movie review part of the entries. This is what seperates me from other sites which just right primarily movie reviews, I have a section dedicated to my opinion on anything at all to do with the movie.

    I hope this explains my blog a bit better for you.