The Fighter

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(20user reviews)
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Hollywood’s century-long love affair with boxing, comeback stories and the struggles of the ‘common man’ continues with this entertaining if predictable ringside biopic. Mark Wahlberg plays ‘Irish’ Mickey Ward, the working-class slugger from Lowell, Massachusetts, whose rough road to sporting stardom in the mid-’90s was both helped and hindered by his ex-boxer brother Dicky (Christian Bale) and his tough-cookie manager mother, Alice (Melissa Leo).

The most notable thing about ‘The Fighter’ is its extreme and at times offputting diversity of acting styles: Wahlberg holds himself back as the quiet man at the eye of the storm, but  Bale’s twitchy, tweaked-out crackhead is as out-there a character as he’s ever portrayed, while both Leo and Amy Adams are on full scenery-chewing form as the sharp-tongued, mad-haired, leopard-print-clad women who rule Mickey’s life. Director David O Russell (‘Three Kings’) does a decent job of holding things together, but some scenes feel more like a thespian pissing contest than a representation of anything like ‘real life’, a situation not helped by some of the more laboured, class-conscious Barton Fink-isms in the script.

But ‘The Fighter’ is still a hugely entertaining watch, romping through its rags-to-slightly-better-rags plot with aplomb, throwing in a few brief but breathless boxing sequences, some superbly sketched (and terrifyingly dressed) supporting characters and a lot of snappy, street-smart dialogue. Russell’s visual sense is as strong as ever, creating a vivid, heightened portrait of ground-level life in what was then one of America’s roughest neighbourhoods. The result is a flawed, frequently ludicrous but overwhelmingly likeable film, old-school to the core and none the worse for it.

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
15
Release date:
Friday February 4 2011
Duration:
116 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
David O Russell
Screenwriter:
Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington, Scott Silver
Cast:
Melissa Leo
Christian Bale
Mark Wahlberg

Users say (20)

4 out of 5 stars