The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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“The Fighter” scores points with strong cast and story

Bonded brothers overcome all obstacles in “The Fighter” to achieving a solid knockout and persevere in trying to make boxing history.

Director of the film “Three Kings,” David O. Russell delivers a haymaker of a hit with a Rocky-like feel, but with a more realistic touch in the sense of capturing the world of the working class.

A substantial true story about light welterweight, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother, former boxer Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), who battles drug addiction, pair up against low expectations, reputations and stereotypes drawn from their blue-collar town of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Paramount Pictures present a gutsy dramatic account of rollercoaster ride of a comeback.  Packed with powerhouse performances by Bale and solid supportive roles by Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, “The Fighter” doesn’t let up in its entertainment value or its never-give-up theme.

Wahlberg and Bale deliver passion and brilliance in their performances. With a half-sports, half-drama touch, its feel-good sentimental qualities, high-intensity fight scenes and a few solid hooks of emotional connection capture attention.

Ward is a levelheaded individual who is taught to work his opponent down to fatigue only to surprise them with a left hook and hope for a knockout.  The film follows Micky’s setbacks, as he seesaws between his family’s obstruction and his return to boxing.  Dickie, as his brother, trainer, and childhood hero, steals the show from the get-go.  Sporting a bald spot, receding hairline, a gaunt appearance similar to past roles in “The Machinist” and “Rescue Dawn,” and a set of unpleasant crack-addict teeth, Bale carries the film as Wahlberg’s character slowly develops.

Ward goes through an array of boxing torment only to be brought back up by college dropout and local bartender Charlene (Amy Adams).  There is wonderful chemistry between the two on screen, but at times the spotlight seems to weight too much on their relationship. At certain stages of the film, Ward’s love interest seemed to be more the focus than the actual stepping-stone path he took toward competing.

The music was so-so, as well. Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” blared annoyingly, showing no originality and leaving one’s mind to wander toward other films that have used the song.

The imperious mother character Alice (Melissa Leo) displays a die-hard effort to control her son’s life, while neglecting the troubled, drug-addicted older son.  The film strongly captures her overbearing ways through much of the story and then suddenly becomes a sidelined spectator near the end.  It’s never clear to the audience why she fell off in her pursuit with having the major say in her son’s career.

HBO contributed to the film by recreating footage of Ward’s fights, but it gave the impression of a pay-per-view match by giving too much distance and leaving the viewer without much needed close-ups.

Most likely a contestant in the running for one of the ten spots for Best Picture, Bale’s phenomenal portrayal carries the film and deserves a nod for Best Supporting Actor.  He is dynamic, engaging, raw, and believable.

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