Obviously Christian Bale needs to win the Oscar for his work in this movie. He is incredible, magnetic, and yet repulsive all at the same time. That’s astonishing, especially considering that just a few years ago, he was Batman with that stupid voice, uttering that great line, “I’m not the one wearing hockey pants.” Heh-heh.
Anyway, The Fighter is an achievement. It’s not a perfect movie—the tone oscillates from humorous to dramatic to almost satirical at times, which I didn’t like much. But this didn’t feel like an average “boxing movie” to me, like Cinderella Man, for example. No, The Fighter was unique because its title meant a million different things, even though it only seemed to refer to one person. The Fighter stood for all of the main characters, Micky Ward, Dicky Eklund, Alice, Charlene, even the foes that Micky and Dicky faced throughout their careers. Everyone was fighting for something in this movie, sometimes against each other, but because this was a story of triumph, they all put aside their differences and came together for the right reason, which was Micky’s fighting.
I found myself wishing there was more boxing in this movie, yet I found the lack of boxing quite refreshing. Boxing movies are truly a special breed. They’ve always been the most exciting and engaging type of sports movie to me, for whatever reason (besides Miracle, though), yet when I watched Wahlberg in the ring, I didn’t quite believe him as a boxer (though a “fighter” would be a different tangent altogethrer). For that reason, I thought it was good that the fight scenes were sporadic, and when they happened, they were really thrilling, and you ignored the fact that it was this movie star you’ve seen in everything getting his face screwed up a thousand ways. I looked around the theater and saw people leaning forward in their seats, enjoying the bout as if they were ringside in Las Vegas, too. Congrats, David O. Russell, you must have done something right!
Christian Bale, though. I had no idea he was such a method actor. Guy dropped a bunch of weight, applied one hell of a Lowell accent, and developed such a believable, quirky personality that he was almost unrecognizable. That’s acting, I tell you. This movie would have been unrecognizable without him.
Mark Wahlberg and his team should be proud to add this movie to Hollywood’s esteemed canon of boxing works. This one’s definitely a modern-day knockout. Sorry, folks. Had to say it.