Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Frank Renzulli, Mickey O'Keefe, Jenna Lamia, Bianca Hunter, Erica McDermott, Sugar Ray Leonard
For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother (Melissa Leo) is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale), once a promising boxer himself, is his very unreliable trainer. Despite Micky's hard work, he is losing and, when the latest fight nearly kills him, he follows his girlfriend's (Amy Adams) advice and splits from the family.
Not what I expected. This is the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about this film. Maybe it's because I do associate Mark Wahlberg to mediocre films, and I thought this would have been just a film about boxing, with tons of fights and nothing more. But David O. Russell directed it, and Christian Bale did another of his amazing transformations for the role, so I couldn't help but give it a try: I'm glad I did.
Based on a real story, The Fighter is a family drama with a boxing background that reaches a whole new emotional level for the genre.
Brilliantly written, as said before, the story isn't focused on boxing, but mostly deals with family problems, drugs addiction, and failures - of a crack addict on one side, and of a bartender who drinks to not think about the place she works in on the other side -, but also redemption. It is the story of a man who didn't give up, and the title couldn't be more appropriate.
Lot of people are wondering how different the film would have been if Aronofsky made it. I think we should focus on the incredible job David O. Russell did, and put the 'What ifs' aside. Because let's face the truth, his direction is flawless, and when it comes to biopics, he is the man.
What else can I say? The grainy, documentary-like cinematography gives the film an authentic look. The soundtrack features wonderful rock classics like The Rolling Stones "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", and Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times", and a newer rock piece, The Heavy's "How You Like Me Now?".
The acting is the best part of the film. Mark Wahlberg did really surprise me, delivering a great performance as Micky Ward. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo provide a good support. However, Christian Bale is star. Not only he did drop 30 pounds of weight for the role - we are used to see him continuously physically transformed -, but he did become Dicky Eklund: the desperate need to be appreciated for what he could have been can literally be read in his eyes.
Dicky Eklund: Are you like me? Huh? Was this good enough to fight Sugar Ray? Never had to win, did I? You gotta do more in there. You gotta win a title. For you, for me, for Lowell. This is your time, all right? You take it. I had my time and I blew it. You don't have to. All right? You fuckin' get out there, and use all the shit that you've been through, all that fuckin' hell, all the shit we've gone trough over the fuckin' years, and you put it in that ring right now. This is yours. This is fuckin' yours.