The Fighter

The Fighter (David O. Russell, 2010)

Not being a fan of boxing I wasn't really looking forward to this picture. I didn't even knew who Micky Ward was! When I saw the previews I thought to myself; Raging Bull 2. Well, I couldn't be more wrong, except some slow-motions "à la Scorsese" during the fight we have a movie of his own. I assume that David O. Russell (Three Kings) was very meticulious to not redo something that has been done before.

I categorize this kind of picture has an actor movie. Clearly the performances of Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams and the greatest actor of his generation Christian Bale are top notch. One can say that Wahlberg didn't gives the best performance of the year. I wouldn't disagree completely but the character he portraits is a low profile man while his brother Dicky (Christian Bale) is more explosive and exhuberant. Bale gives one of his best performance, he is unrecognizable: the way he walks, his huge crack smocker eyes, his omnipresent intensity even when his character is sitting in a chair. He is Eklund.

The film stands as a metaphor on how drugs, dreams, family... Even if sometimes you think you're at the end of the barrell you can always turn right with the perfect combination of good and evil and succeed in life. It's the American Dream set in the 1990's. How you should never stop believing in yourself and get people around you that will bring you higher than you can even expect. It may seem like I've seen a Disney picture or something like it, but still. Even if the Ward family is a little "white trash" and that many characters are unpleasant to watch the film quickly wraps up to a simpler ending than what the social tensions presented in its central chapter. There's also a clear off-beat point in the middle of the film where the time and discomfort is palpable and I think that it slows and weakened the rhythm of the story. Anyway, it reprensents probably many families where the mother wants to control everything and where everyone tries to put his or her nose in the things of the other...

I believe that Dicky's problems with drugs were important and crack is one of the worst out there, but somehow I think that the film was a little too moralistic about it. I like that instead of praising it, it condemns it and it's a great achievment that he got out of this shit. It's just that at moments Bale is so great on the screen that the focus should be about Micky. Isn't it his film after all?

Far from being a great film The Fighter is a good movie that gives you more than the regular Sports movie or Drama. It's a Social drama about a family that lived for boxing. I am curious to see how the movie will do at the Oscars because I thnik that this is the kind of film the Academy likes to praise. Small town people that can get into the big world of corporate boxing and earn their success through adversity...

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