“THE FIGHTER” Movie Review. The GLORY and the GORINESS of the BOXING RING ignite on the giant SCREEN.
“THE FIGHTER” Press Preview
Mind you, the boxing ring is NOT just a boxing ring.
Metaphorically it has a life.
It’s the epitome of blood, sweat and tears.
Many heart-breaking fights had been staged in the boxing arena.
For that many victors, there were the same amount of losers.
You will be amazed by the swelling, screaming crowds as they cheer endlessly at the display of two sweaty boxers ferociously pummeling and battering each other in the ring.
It’s a glorification of human butchery, no less.
What price winning?
Because only one boxer can emerge as the winner.
The sight of oozing blood could have spelled a thousand murders, as if anyone cares.
Everybody is basking in the splendor of this gory “gladiator field” where the bloodiest sight works best.
Who bothers about the tears and grime behind the facade?
All the insatiable audience wants is to bask in the glory and the pomp of the winner.
It’s obvious that there’s a sadistic primeval urge in all of us to witness this kind of competitive mayhem to relieve momentary stress. To dredge whatever pain out of our system.
Boxing flicks can never be my cup of tea.
It’s not cool to watch two guys tearing at each other, if I can help it.
It’s stark brutality.
Yet boxing films are the ones that have delivered the biggest theatrical box-office hits, amongst all sports.
The “Rocky” series, “Raging Bull”, “Cinderella Man” and the “Million Dollar Baby” and of late, “The Fighter” joins the heavyweights as one of cinema’s glorious boxing flicks. Each bring along its baggage of blood, toil and tears.
“THE FIGHTER” pays homage to ”Irish” Micky Ward, making him an international screen icon, larger than life.
MARK WAHLBERG is Micky Ward, rising from a dim-witted dude to a pro champ.
His fighting career escalates from the working-class streets of Lowell, Massachusetts, soaring to the heights of pugilistic fame.
Training him is his older half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale) – himself a former boxer, who was once the pride of his community for flooring Sugar Ray Leonard.
However, Dicky is woefully unreliable as Dicky’s coach as he plunges into a nightmare of crack addiction, violence and prison.
Special mention must be made of the formidable mother Alice Ward (MELISSA LEO) who doubles up as the possessive manager. She plays a pivotal role.
Though both step-brother and mother are committed to training and managing Micky, they can never fathom the person Micky is.
In his own mind Micky has always yearned to stand on his own. All men do.
When he finds true love with a local barmaid Charlene (AMY ADAMS), his familar old world begins to crumble.
Charlene encourages him to re-examine his life and to stand up to his demanding family.
Film director DAVID O RUSSELL delivers a plucky heart-pounding classic with admirable kinetic fight scenes and a peppering of humor along the way.
Solid acting from the key actors:
CHRISTIAN BALE is par excellence as a nervy, bumbling, starved down to addict-level bloke.
You wouldn’t have recognized this once-upon-a-time dashing actor.
He has embraced a hefty weight loss that has become emblematic of the “serious” BALE’s performance.
WAHLBERG ignites the screen with a formidable performance in the lead role.
He brings unparalleled athleticism to the fight scenes, and tenderness to the rest.
AMY ADAMS and MELISSA LEO both earn Oscar nominations. You know why.
Ultimately “THE FIGHTER” is a touching parable about a boxer fighting the “demons” in his life and the odds within the boxing arena.
It’s an inspiring movie with a proud cast to boot.
It recognizes the power of sibling and family bonding, and no matter how dysfunctional the family may be, blood is often thicker than water.
Because LIFE is never perfect and FRIENDS will come and go.
But the FAMILY will always be there with open arms.