Dramatic and Brutally well told; The Fighter Delivers a Knockout performance.
The boxing drama genre has seen a somewhat drought in recent times due to the predictable nature of its storytelling and a lack of direction. You'd be right to say that The Fighter is a somewhat modern and up-to-date take on the Rocky formula, but you'd be doing a discredit to the outstanding storytelling and powerful performances that make this such a must-see.
The Fighter tells the true story of middle-aged Welterweight Boxer 'Irish' Mickey Ward and his rise from stepping stone to Welterweight champion. Short of the traditional "Zero-to-Hero" nature of the plot, The Fighter shares little other genre-conventions and provides a much more raw and gritty narrative, covering issues such as pride, drug addiction and family values. Possibly the most impressive element of The Fighter is the sheer weight to each character and the depth to each performance, you'll be hard pressed to find a one dimensional stereotyped character. By comparison if you look at Rocky, which had Adrian serving the single role of love interest and Mickey as the mentor figure, The Fighter throws so much more into the mix with a much stronger cast to boot.
Bale (Left) and Wahlberg (Right) both went through vast physical transformations for their parts which only adds to the depth of their characters
Christian Bale is simply incredible and the level of dedication that went into creating this performance really pays off; he is truly mesmerizing when on screen and has brilliant chemistry with the rest of the cast. Mark Wahlberg really surprised me once again, though his character can seem a little translucent in comparison to the strong personalities he's faced with, he takes the lead role well. The most interesting scenes are created by the dilemma's that Wahlberg's character is thrown into, whether it be bar fights, the awkward "meet the parents" scene or the truly gripping fight scenes, there's always a tense atmosphere and the drama is always at the forefront of the storytelling which is all the more impressive considering the true nature of the source material.
Perhaps the most impressive contribution to Wahlberg's performance is his refusal to use a stunt double in the fight scenes, which may have come at the cost of a few injuries but, together with the excellent contemporary camera work, really complement and present the few fights that do take place in an innovative manner.
Mickey and Dick's mother is one of many conflicting personalities that strengthen The Fighter's great variety of characters
Awards season is in full swing and as I'm working through my list of films to see, I'm realising that it's such a great time to be a moviegoer right now. The Fighter stands strong in a line up of diverse line-up of academy award winners and in similar fashion to last week's True Grit modernises a classic genre. Spoiling us with up-close, realistic and gritty action sequences, deep and interesting characters as well as a stand out cast that complement the fantastic script; there isn't a reason not to recommend The Fighter.