The Fighter (2010)

The Fighter (2010)
  • Time: 116 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | Sport
  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams


In Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1993 former boxer Dicky Eklund, who once fought Sugar Ray Leonard, believes the TV crew are filming his come-back. In fact it is a documentary on 40 year old Eklund’s descent into drug addiction. Younger half-brother Micky Ward is now the family’s great white hope for a boxing world title but Dicky and mother Alice seem to think they have a stake in Micky. His girlfriend and father believe he should ditch them for a professional trainer and manager but when the crucial fights start to come Micky’s way it’s Dicky’s advice that helps get him to the top, uniting all of them as Micky becomes world champion.


  • “The Fighter” is a must see movie for any film fan, with some great and some exceptional performances from a brilliant cast, most notable by the scene stealing Christian Bale. Mark Whalberg leads an amazing cast and delivers a very believable performance in his portrayal of the gritty Micky Ward. The hours of gym and boxing work he has obviously completed in the build up to this movie make the fighting scenes very genuine and very believable. I also liked the previous work from director David O. Russell, but I think that ‘The Fighter’ is definitely his best movie so far. This is just a splendid film which deserves a highly enthusiastic recommendation for succeeding so much in every single aspect. No wonder I would recommend this movie to anyone and everyone.

  • What happens when a volatile director meets a potentially volatile actor on set? You get one of the most intense performances of the year. Notoriously hard-to-work-with director David O. Russell (Three Kings, 1999) guides Christian Bale (who infamously threw vulgar tirades on the set of Terminator Salvation, 2009) to a great turn as Dicky Eklund, the drug addict brother of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), whom this biopic is based on.

    The Fighter, as it is titled, chronicles Micky’s rise to prominence in the sport of boxing, but it is not without its fair share of ups and downs as you would see in this quite masterful picture of drama and sport. In the realm of boxing pictures, The Fighter straddles in the territory between Rocky (1976) and Raging Bull (1980), with the latter being the holy grail of the subgenre. It is raw, gritty, vulgar, and also a very revealing examination of the nature of human relations when people are under pressure to conform to the beliefs and expectations of others.

    The performances in this film are a knockout, and are perhaps the most compelling reason to head down to the theatres to catch the film. In addition to Wahlberg and Bale, the ensemble cast also features Amy Adams (Doubt, 2008), who is cast against type as a foul-mouth bargirl, and Melissa Leo (Frozen River, 2008), who plays one of the fiercest movie moms in recent memory.

    Russell’s rough, unpolished visual style gives the film a documentary feel, and this is aided by scenes which show a cameraman and some crew following Dicky, the footage of which would end up in a special social issue segment about “Crack” on HBO shown on television in the film. In the final quarter, when Micky gets a title shot, one would expect a thrilling boxing match, of which Russell delivers with aplomb.

    It does not have the gut-wrenching impact of Raging Bull, nor is it as inspiring as Rocky, but Russell’s unique way of presenting the fight (he uses intentionally hard lighting, loud, overbearing commentators, and low-bass strings) makes it especially immersive.

    Perhaps the biggest flaw of The Fighter (but it is not a major one) is that the character of Micky Ward is not screen-stealing enough and seems to play a secondary role to Dicky, who is a supporting character, albeit a very highly stimulating one. Thus, even though the drama is generally involving and exciting, it would seem at times that this film is not so much about Mickey but the strong-minded characters around him that shaped his attitudes toward his outlook in life.

    In a nutshell, Russell has done an impressive job with an excellent cast, and has shown that Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, 2008), who was originally slated to direct this, was not sorely missed.

    GRADE: A-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *