Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Fighter

Whilst I won't go as far as to classify myself as a fan of boxing dramas, I do tend to enjoy them much more than I would let myself normally admit to. But with amazing movies like ‘Million dollar baby’ and the latest entry to this sub-genre, ‘The fighter', I just can't help but express my appreciation.

Director David O Russel's ('I Heart Huckabees' and 'Three Kings') take on the genre is not only refreshing (with its minimalistic focus on the actual fighting), but it also manages to work brilliant as an in-depth social class study session. At the heart of the story is a struggling semi-professional boxer that is torn between two very different worlds of support: that of his bit backward family and his new love interest, played with great vibrancy by Amy Adams.

The two most central figures on the family's side is firstly the mom, played brilliantly and with loads of conviction by Melissa Leo. Whilst she's definitely one of the most antagonistic characters in the film, she plays her part so honestly that it’s nearly impossible not to consider her obvious shortcomings as mere human nature by the end of the film – Truly, worthy of her Golden Globe win.

The best performance of the film is however an obvious one: Christian Bale, as the protagonist's 'retired', crack-addicted brother, who is quickly spiraling down a life of crime and missed opportunities. Bale, who will be best known for his equally impressive performances as the new, more brooding batman, plays a much different type of character here, standing as a testament to his sheer flexibility as a performer. Not only does he serve for the film's most moving and dramatic scenes, but also for the few depressingly funny ones. Bale's award mentions and wins are well deserved here...

"Truly, worthy of her Golden Globe win."

The rest of the ensemble cast, especially the rest of the family members are just as well cast, helping to paint a painfully realistic picture of the complexities surrounding protagonist mark Wahlberg’s life. Oh, and Wahlberg isn't half bad himself, considering he manages to brighten up the very stale character type he plays. No awards though for him this time around though...

Whilst the acting definitely stands out as the film's best achievement, the rest of the elements like a solid and well-paced screenplay, powerful cinematography and a fitting score all contribute to a very neatly packaged film experience.

When compared to something like 'The Town', I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that The fighter has a better chance at awards this year... But is it strong enough to K.O. something highly relevant like David Fincher's ' The Social network' or Darren Aronofsky's extremely powerful, 'Black swan'? Time will have to tell...

Definitely not the real hero of the film, but the best pic I could find...

Highlight: A family meeting with the lead's new love interest becomes dangerously heated, as the two parties clearly don't see eye to eye on some matters...

Rating: 4-and-a-half meerkat tails.