Friday 27 May 2011

Today's Review: The Fighter

So yes, all the award winners are coming out on Blu-Ray/DVD. Some I haven't seen. That includes The Fighter. Everyone tends to go a bit ape shit for a boxing movie. Probably because a lot of guys don't want to watch a movie if it doesn't involve someone's bodily fluids spilling out at one point, but they can also comfort themselves with the fact that it's a wonderful underdog story instead of just some inexplicably-still-alive person blowing shit up for two hours. 

The Fighter is pretty damn good though. It stars Mark Wahlberg, which isn't a great thing, since he's ruined the Max Payne franchise for me and is apparently about to do the same with Uncharted. He is widely recognised as not a great actor, but most of the criticism came from the awful The Happening, which almost even ruined Zooey Deschanel for me. So here he is stepping up to the bat again, and I must say I didn't find him that unlikeable in the movie, but that's probably because his co-star Christian Bale made me hate him a whole lot more.

Wahlberg plays Micky (no 'e'), a budding boxer who is managed by his mother and trained by his brother, Dicky (Bale), who one knocked down a high profile guy while boxing and is still feeding off the glory, whether it's there or not. Trouble is, Dicky is a tiny bit addicted to crack, looks like shit and acts like a pretentious jackass, and their mother (Melissa Leo) is all about loyalty, and surrounded by her what seems like 500 sisters they're very good at keeping Micky in his place, which is in a dead end town that worships a drug addict. 

So The Fighter is about one man's struggle to break away from his family loyalties and actually try to make a name for himself. And no matter how you feel about Wahlberg, or find his character uninspiring, his family are so undeniably wormy and full of themselves you can't help but root for the good guy. Bale and Leo won Oscars for their roles as brother and mother, and it's not hard to see why. They take on their roles perfectly and I was almost fuming every time they started being dicks. 

The story is well paced, and there are a couple of turns along the way that keep the events fresh, instead of just being stuck in a town with women calling each other skanks. The main catalyst of change is Micky's new girlfriend, Charlene, played by Amy Adams. I've only ever seen her in airy fairy roles, mostly about twenty times playing Giselle in Enchanted, so it's really cool to see her using a gritty accent and threatening to pull someone's hair out of their head. Everyone just fitted their parts really well, maybe apart from Wahlberg. I wasn't really concentrating much on him, it was much more interesting seeing everyone else fight over his attention. It seems that Micky is just along for the ride, going with whatever feels good at the time, and his character is certainly overshadowed by the talent surrounding him.

That's not to say the story was bland. I'm aware it was based on true events, so it wasn't the most exciting thing I've ever seen, but it progressed nicely and kept my attention quite well. The Fighter was good. It wasn't one of my favourite movies of the year, probably wouldn't make it to be nominated for my Best Picture, but it's definitely worth a watch.

My rating: 4/5

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