The Fighter

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(out of 5)


The last thing cinema needed was another boxing movie, and yet here is an unforgettable, instant classic that must be seen.  has been battling it in the ring for years with the help of his domineering mother () as manager and his once-successful, now has-been junkie brother () training him. Having gotten nowhere with either of them at his side, Wahlberg decides to veer in the direction of a more devoted trainer thanks to the confidence of his new girlfriend (a surprisingly tough ) behind him. What David O. Russell contributes with his scintillating direction to this heretofore well-known synopsis is what makes this film really zing: the tension between all these characters, what they want from each other and what they will take without asking, makes for more insane intensity outside the boxing ring than what goes on within. The scenes where Wahlberg gets to punching his opponents are a relief compared to the drama suffered by him as he tries to distance himself from his terrifying matriarch and his self-destructive brother. Based on the true story of Mickey Ward, the film is grounded by Wahlberg’s performance: bland and opaque, but also sincere, a relief of stillness amid all the insane charisma going on around him. There are fireworks whenever Leo is on screen, while Bale’s insanely accurate depiction of broken dreams gone berserk can be barely contained by the dimensions of the camera. Russell’s drive gives the film so much of its dramatic thrust, but there is also a lot of humour and, as a result of all these elements combined, an overwhelming sense of humanity that leads to a very moving finale. A masterpiece.


, , , , ,

USA, 2010

Directed by

Story by , , , Screenplay by , Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson

Cinematography by

Produced by , , , , Paul Tamasy,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


Academy Awards:  2010

Golden Globe Awards:  2010


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