The Fighter (2010)

April 25, 2011 By Eric Peralta
Movie Review

What Worked?

A typical boxing film consists of three main ingredients: A likable underdog living in financial hardship, a seasoned corner-man who transforms the main character from chump to champ, and of course a motivating love interest. An overwhelming majority of boxing films are alike in one way or another. Glorifying victory and overcoming struggles are the constant themes. However, one consistent trait that they all share isn’t something that they possess, but rather, one that they lack: authenticity.

An old man shouts commands at his star pupil, as flashbacks of the glory days relive in his memory. The sound of a tightly wound leather rope constantly smacking against the concrete, while the musty smell of evaporated sweat still lingers from a previous sparring session. A seasoned cut-man meticulously taping a fighter’s hand, a fighter’s most prized possession.

Granted, capturing the sense of smell could be a challenge on film, but The Fighter does exactly that. The film exposes an unfiltered behind the scenes look on what really happens before the first bell rings. It is a story about triumph and glory that comes not only in the ring, but also outside it. The story revolves around “Irish” Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, a real life boxer who is dealing with a rough patch having served several losses in a row, and his brother Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale), a former Journeyman contender turned drug addict whose priorities in life come into conflict.
The supportive cast creates a favorable ensemble. Amy Adams plays Charlene, a sultry barmaid who becomes the driving force in Micky’s entourage, and Melissa Leo plays Alice, the no nonsense mother of both Dicky and Micky.

The character portrayals are overwhelming which compliment to the ambiance of the film. From the streets of Lowell Mass, to the live ringside commentators, the entire cast creates a sense not seen in many fight oriented film: honesty. A fitting tribute to one of the most honest fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves.

The Fighter is a stellar knockout that picks you up off the canvas and leaves you begging for more. Just remember champ… head body, head body!

Potential Drawbacks:

They neglected showing even a hint of this legendary fight…

Film Recommendations:

Million Dollar Baby
Resurrecting the Champ
Rocky Balboa

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