Before you even sit down and watch The Fighter it is already apparent that this movie reflects Christian Bales career. He has had some ups (such as the American Psycho) and some downs (need I remind people of the on set freak out). However as he has shown he is once again back on top form along with Mark Walberg and Melissa Leo in David O. Russell’s story of someone following their dreams.
Based on a true story, Micky (Mark Walberg) a small time boxer who’s trainer is his older brother Dicky (Christian Bale) has only been a steppingstone for other boxers. But that’s not Micky’s only problem, whilst battling his latest opponents he is also battling with a controlling mother (Melissa Leo), a crack addicted brother Dicky, an ex-wife who won’t let him see his daughter all the while trying to keep everything in his life together. After loosing an important match, Micky feels as if his career is over as he is being pulled at by several separate things in his life. After meeting Charlene (Amy Adams) a college drop out from a bar, she is soon to boost the fighters moral and help him accomplish his dreams.
Despite the movie being compared to Rocky, The Fighter doesn’t feel too much as if it is living in the shadows of it’s older brother. There is enough in the movie about family conflict to keep the audience focused on the important issues rather then simply the fighting. It goes without saying that it won’t be remembered like Rocky or Raging Bull however that doesn’t mean it’s bad, just very forgettable.
One of the most impressive parts of David O. Russell’s directing involves the sections in the boxing ring as the camera jumps to an ESPN style of live sporting to add authenticity. And the authenticity doesn’t end there; Micky’s training gym is the actual location where the real boxer spent his time training for fights and to add to that Mickey O’Keefe (one Micky’s trainer) plays himself with some dignity and surprising talent.
At one point The Fighter had Darren Aronofsky’s name attached (before he decided to make Black Swan), and it’s easy to see why as some of the issues which we saw in Aronofsky’s The Wrestler are seen here but without the sheer brutality as we saw with Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson. The Fighter feels much more like a
by the numbers film with little originality. O. Russell never goes to much extremes as the film doesn’t take much thought about the effect boxing has on the body, even though Micky is constantly being beaten for rounds on end he seems to shrug of the bruises. Hollywood
All in all The Fighter is no where as edgy as films such as Raging Bull or The Wrestler and doesn’t have the apple of lasting effect however is still an enjoyable movie as Bale shows he’s back on top form as some major slips.
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