The Fighter takes the ring (and the box office) by storm

Kobi Malamud ('12), Eastside staff

Mark Whalberg and Christian Bale duke it out in the Fighter, courtesy of allnewmoviereviews.com

Although popular boxing movies are generally a thing of the past with titles such as Rocky and Raging Bull, The Fighter successfully manages to resurrect the forgotten genre.

Taking place in Lowell, Massachusetts in the early nineties, the film deals with the true story of “Irish” boxer Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg).  As a welterweight boxer living under the shadow of his brother and former boxer Dicky (Christian Bale), Ward struggles desperately to win matches while at the same time dealing with his family’s problems.  In and out of the ring, Ward faces huge adversity. Whether it is trying to escape his drug addicted brother’s stupidity, knocking down opponents who are heavier than he is, or choosing between his family and his success as a boxer, the director, David Russell, easily puts the viewer into the difficult shoes of Mickey Ward. Throughout his struggle, Ward proves that against all of the odds and troubles he encounters, success can still be right around the corner if he is able to face his demons and pull through, even if it means letting go of his family’s tight control over his career.

Whalberg gives a memorable performance, still being as psychically and mentally strong as always.  Even Amy Adams, in the supporting role of Charlene, who is Mickey’s girlfriend and motivator, delivers a phenomenal performance.  However, undoubtedly the strongest performance of the film comes from Christian Bale.  Recently having below par performances in Terminator Salvation and The Dark Knight, Bale manages to escape his second-rate acting connotations to prove to critics that he deserves his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  Expressing raw emotion throughout the movie, unlike Wahlberg’s character who is generally more reserved, Bale’s character starts off lazy and drugged, progressively becoming angry and fed-up at himself, and eventually morphs into a responsible and mature adult.

The Fighter is a rare movie that successfully combines chaotic drama with quality acting, and no, does not seem to be a mediocre rendition of Rocky.  The only thing seeming to be missing is an adequate amount of fight scenes.  One would think paying to see a movie about boxing would involve a good number of fights throughout the film, but apart from several main matches and a short fight montage, there really are not that many.

The combination of heart-felt emotional breakthroughs, some good fight scenes, and strong performances by the cast throughout the film, come together to produce the final product of a boxing movie that can ultimately stand among the greats.