28 May 2011

Movies: The Fighter

The Fighter (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0964517/

This Oscar-nominated biographical boxing drama, and Oscar-winning for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, is worth the watch. Even if you have no clue about the original story, it is filmed and acted so well it is worth the time. Stars Mark Wahlburg as Micky Ward, Christian Bale as Micky's half-brother Dicky Eklund.

I couldn't help being reminded of Raging Bull. But that's because both films are biographical boxing dramas.  Stylistically they are different films. There's something about Scorsese's style that really sets a gulf between the two.  Interestingly enough Scorsese was asked to direct, but he declined.

That doesn't mean The Fighter is a lesser film than Raging Bull. The primary and supporting actors in the film breathe genuine life into their characters, Wahlburg and Bale especially.  And the guy playing Mickey O'Keefe, Micky Ward's trainer, is especially authentic considering he's playing himself in the film.

We see Micky's relationships with his family, good or bad, Dicky's crack addiction and incarceration, and how Micky's relationship with them changed over time as he went on to win the WBU light welterweight title.

The story is told well, most likely dramatized, amalgamated and fictionalized in places for dramatic license and flow, but that's sort of understood for any biographical drama. I imagine they hit the proper historically accurate beats - otherwise there would've been a lot of press crying foul. Which would be quite easy on their part considering HBO did a documentary on Dicky Eklund's crack addiction, and ESPN and HBO televised their fights. So these guys have had some documentation done about them before the film was made.

It's a compelling story and a good watch, and is one of those rare cases where the film hype is accurate.

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