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The Fighter

David O. Russell's 2010 film chronicling the rise of an up and coming boxer and his drug addict ex-boxer brother.

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Now that's what I call a fight!

  • Dec 10, 2010
Rating:
+5
THE FIGHTER
Written by Eric Johnson, Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy
Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo
 
Before a boxer sets foot in any ring, he most likely has a plan of attack in place.  If he is serious about what he does, he has studied his opponent; he knows his strategies, his weaknesses.  A great boxer is in control of the game even when it seems like he might not be; he can see the match straight through to the knockout.  THE FIGHTER is just like that boxer and once the bell rings, signifying the fight has begun, it comes at you fast and hits you hard.  You won’t even see it coming.  It’s that good.
 
Everyone is a fighter in THE FIGHTER but there are two that fit the bill in a more technical sense of the word.  Mark Wahlberg, a producer on the film, plays Micky Ward, the real life Lowell, Massachusets native and now retired junior welterweight boxing champion.  Ward was on hiatus from professional boxing in the early ‘90’s and the film picks up as he is preparing for his comeback in 1993, with his brother, Dickie Ecklund (Christian Bale), also a former boxer, coaching in his corner.  Ecklund’s serious crack problem does not allow for him to be in anyone’s corner but his own really and Micky must learn to fight his way out from brother Dickie’s shadow in order to become his own man. 
 
Wahlberg gives a strong performance, giving THE FIGHTER a solid center to move around but part of Micky’s character is to allow the more dominant forces in his life control his surroundings.  This allows for the supporting players to truly stand out.  Bale is a twisted and tortured mess, a refreshing return to form.  Meanwhile, Melissa Leo is pure, trash gold as Micky & Dickie’s manager mom.  Even Amy Adams turns a quiet role as Micky’s love interest into something smoldering.  Her fights with Mama Leo are almost as gruesome as the one’s in the ring.
 
As incredible as THE FIGHTER is, it would be nothing without the man in its corner, director, David O. Russell.  Russell has crafted a taut picture that plays like its working the ring from every angle possible and placing the viewer in the middle of this barrage of punches that never seems to let up.  Don’t worry; you get out alive.  You aren’t the same though for it.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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June 04, 2011
"Bale is a twisted and tortured mess, a refreshing return to form" - so well said.
June 04, 2011
Thanks very much. I don't usually have lines highlighted so that's cool.
 
December 16, 2010
I usually HATE these introspective athlete biopics because of their contrivance, but the cast seems like an interesting enough combination to check it out. Nice review!
December 17, 2010
Thanks! This is not that biopic. It is sharp and insightful. Beautiful character work. Not to be missed!
 
December 11, 2010
Thanks for the review -- I like Wahlberg and was wondering how he did in this one -- I need to see this!!
December 11, 2010
Thanks for reading. Yeah, this is must see for sure!
 
December 11, 2010
I am so excited to see this one, as much as I anticipated Black Swan! Now your review is making me drool! You are lucky you managed to see it ahead of us. Thanks, Joseph!
December 11, 2010
Yeah, The Fighter and Black Swan are definitely Picture of the Year contenders for me. Had the chance to catch four advance screenings this week because the studios are cramming everything in to qualify for the Toronto Film Critics year end awards.
 
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More The Fighter (2010 film) reviews
review by . December 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Fight To Win In Life and in The Boxing Ring!
   Sports dramas that channel an inspiring ‘underdog’ story. It is pretty cliché nowadays in the halls of filmmaking. Well, director David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” stems from cliché but then again, sometimes real life is all about cliché. It centers on the real-life story of Irish boxer Micky Ward and his half-brother Dickie Eklund. This film is the third collaboration between Russell and Wahlberg, the first two being “Three Kings” …
review by . March 23, 2011
Let's just start off by saying I hate sports movies, there I said it.  I didn't cry when at the end of Rudy, I didn't cheer at the end of Rocky and I didn't bother watching Friday Night Lights or Any Given Sunday.  To me, they're all the same in some way or another whether true or not, an over dramatic story about how someone with nothing rises up through adversity and blah, blah, blah.  It's mostly due to the fact that I'm not much of a sports fan …
review by . January 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Around the end of the year one of the things that typically happens is you get a lot of good... but boring movies.  The end of 2010 wasn't like this really.  Most of the movies driving for the Oscar actually entertained.  Usually far too many get themselves far too concerned with being artistic and intellectual.  Which is actually well and good, but they always miss the mark in terms of entertainment.  The Fighter does another turn around by being a film that isn't …
review by . March 27, 2011
Christian Bale steals the show and earns his Oscar.
The Fighter is a bio-pic about two brothers Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).   Micky is a club fighter who's career is marred by being in a tough weight class, poor management and a lack of drive, Dicky is a washed out former contender who's biggest claim to fame was knocking down "Sugar" Ray Leonard. The film follows Micky as he rises through the boxing ranks and Dicky's crash and burn (he has a serious crack addiction and it affects …
review by . February 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Mark Wahlberg stars as Micky "Irish" Ward, a young man seemingly going no where in Lowell, MA. but with a dream of becoming the next boxing welterweight champion of the world.    He's managed by his mother and his brother. Christian Bale plays Micky's brother. In the film Bale has a drug habit and constantly lets his brother down, not showing up for fights and scheduling fights with fighters who are inappropriate for Micky. Eventually, Bale is arrested and sent to jail.    Du …
review by . January 01, 2011
THE FIGHTER may be based on a true story, but that doesn't mean that much of the skeleton of its plot doesn't feel like a rehash of Hollywood clichĂ©s. Struggling blue-collar guy from a dysfunctional family gains a shot, late in life, at boxing glory. Various obstacles get in his way, but with the love of a good woman and some unconventional training & methods…he gets his shot at the title. It's the kind of plot that would not normally get my blood pumping in anticipation.     But …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     David O. Russell hasn't made a good film since "Three Kings", which isn't saying too much considering there was only one other film between that one and "The Fighter", and it was called "I Heart Huckabees". I was not pleased with that film, and I didn't think it functioned well enough to be a true "David O. Russell film". Now here is what I would call a "David O. Russell film", and I say that with the utmost respect. Here it is, the film that everyone has …
review by . January 22, 2011
This was an absolutely wonderful film. I was absolutely floored by it even though I saw it with two people who were less than thrilled to be there. The performances were top-notch and this would be on my Best Movies I Saw in 2010 list if I didn't see this in 2011. Like The King's Speech, this is the perfect Oscar formula and that's sure to pay off come awards time. First of all, the Academy has often had a thing for uplifting dramas (whether or not they pertain to sports) and secondly, …
review by . December 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As is the case with many inspirational sports movies, “The Fighter” uses physical competition as a metaphor for emotional competition. It’s based on the true story of Lowell, Massachusetts boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, who went pro in 1985, went on hiatus after losing four consecutive fights in 1990, and then made a comeback that lasted from 1997 until his retirement in 2003. His final match was a trilogy of fights with Arturo Gatti, but all events in the film lead up to …
review by . March 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Fighter Will Keep You Interested, Just Like Rocky Did.
It is not too often lately that my wife and I  get a chance to see a movie, so when this came to our local theater we decided to take the night off from school work and just plain work. So, if you liked the movie Rocky then you will love this true story, The Fighter is rated "R" and lasts for just a shade under two hours. This movie starring Mark Wahlberg who portrays Micky Ward, who's rise to stardom mimics the Rocky movies a little bit. Micky goes through all of the trials and …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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Wiki


The Fighter
is an upcoming film directed by David O. Russell and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, starring Mark Wahlberg. The film centers on the life of professional boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his older brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). Amy Adams has also been confirmed as a love interest of Ward. The film is set to be released worldwide in theaters on December 10, 2010. The film is Russell and Wahlberg's third film collaboration, following Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees.
 
Darren Aronofsky was previously attached to direct before David O. Russell. Both Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were also once attached to play Dick Eklund before the role went to Christian Bale.  Bale has reportedly been training for the role. About the film, he said, "It’s a true story of two incredibly gifted boxers who were half brothers. The one, Dicky Ecklund, who fought Sugar Ray Leonard at a very young age, when he was twenty-one, was an incredible natural talent. He lived a very hard life. Then he came to train his brother, Irish Mickey Ward, to the world title." Wahlberg also trained for two years for the role of Mickey Ward. A trailer was released on September 15, 2010.
 
Filming began in July 2009 in Lowell, Massachusetts and was completed by September. Filming continued at Paramount in April 2010 for final additional scenes.
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Details

Director: David O. Russell
Genre: Drama, Sport
Release Date: Dec. 10, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Paul Attanasio
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures Corp.
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