Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Keith Robinson.
Markus Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Rated R for language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality.
Did “The Fighter” deserve the Golden Globe nomination for best film it received last Tuesday? The answer is, probably not. Directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings) and Executively Produced by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler), “The Fighter” tells the true story of prize fighter Mickey Ward, and his struggles to deal with his power hungry family and his failing boxing carrier. Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights) plays Mickey, gaining and losing weight for the role (but really bringing nothing to the role other that that) and Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) plays his crack addicted spotlight hogging brother Dicky with such grit that, in my opinion, this performance may manifest what being a true actor is all about (you may not like his character, but after watching “The Fighter” you have to respect Bale as one of the best actors of this generation). As for the female performances, Amy Adams (Enchanted) and Melissa Leo (Frozen River) steal the show, giving performances of a lifetime. If there is one thing I will say about this movie, it is that the performances by the women in this film are nothing short of amazing. Adams gives the strongest performance of her career as Mickey’s spitfire girlfriend and Leo, playing to role of Mickey’s controlling mother, gives the best supporting female performance of the year, BY FAR!
The problems with “The Fighter” are simple: For the first hour of this film, “The Fighter’s” storyline is kind of a mess and I would attribute that fact almost totally to the poor directing of Russell. The story movies along with an uneven pace and doesn’t get interesting until about an hour into the film. And even though the ending climaxes with a somewhat exciting, yet anti-climactic boxing scene and there are some genuinely funny/entertaining moments between Adams and “the sisters” (if you have seen this film, you know what I am talking about), the storyline/script is average at best. Yeah, I know it’s based on a true story, but here is a hint: If the story is average, then it is the director’s and the actor’s jobs to make it compelling enough for people to spend money to see. The actors seem to be doing their part but the Director seems way out of his league here.
I understand this was a passion project by Wahlberg, who had been hanging on to this script for more than four years so he could transform himself into Mickey Ward as well as assemble this all-star cast and all of that is commendable, but if I were to say that “The Fighter” is one of the best films of the year I would be lying to you. Let me make myself clear once again: The acting ensemble gives the best performance I have seen in any film this year, BUT the storyline and the weak direction fail the cast miserably and in the end opens the movie to strong criticism. The fact that this film was given a Golden Globe nomination over The Coen Brothers “True Grit” or Ben Affleck’s “The Town” has to be some kind of travesty.
Final Thought: All “The Fighter” is is a remake of a remake of a remake; a diluted Boxing melodrama, that without the outstanding Oscar worthy performances would have been straight to DVD. This storyline is no “No Raging Bull”, no “Rocky”, hell this storyline isn’t even a “Rocky 4”. I may receive a lot of flack for saying this but: This film is only worth seeing for the acting, but if you are looking for a strong, entertaining storyline look elsewhere.