Saturday 5 November 2011
The Fighter 
Boxing a favourite among filmmakers; after all, it is one of those rare sports that manages to capture the interplay between physical brutality and emotional upheaval. The Fighter, a real-life chronicle of the arduous journey to success and championship of welterweight pugilist “Irish” Micky Ward, is a classic underdog story. Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, is a middle-of-the-rung boxer belonging to a working class neighbourhood whose life is beset by a plethora of obstacles – lack of any stable income, broken marriage, an overbearing mother (Melissa Leo) who doubles as his manager, an attractive and outspoken but equally possessive fiancé (Amy Adams), and a drug-addict elder brother (Christian Bale) – a former boxer still basking in the glory of having knocked down legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard around a decade back and who now acts as his trainer. Triumph against all odds by overcoming a series of personal impediments and setbacks tends to make for a good story, and if the film happens to be well-made like this one, then there’s nothing like it. Thanks to the measured direction, the well-chiseled script, moody atmosphere and a keen eye to details, this gritty urban docudrama managed to perfectly combine grim kitchen-sink realism with a rousing and thoroughly uplifting spirit. The most impressive aspect of the film, along with the well-crafted boxing scenes, happens to be the excellent performance of Bale as Dickie Eklund, whose passion for the game is outweighed only by his fondness towards his younger brother.
Director: David O. Russell
Genre: Drama/Sports Drama/Urban Drama/Biopic