Christian Bale is hit-and-miss with me. Yeah, I realize a lot of people love his teeth-grinding, Clint Eastwood inspired portrayal of “Batman,” but I’m not one of them.
For every amazing performance he has in films like “The Machinist,” “3:10 To Yuma” and “The Fighter,” there are equally annoying performances in “Terminator Salvation,” “Batman” and “American Psycho.”
There’s no doubt he’s one of the most intense actors in Hollywood. It’s just doesn’t always work.
Bale hits a home run in “The Fighter.” He raked in the Oscar and Golden Globe this year for supporting actor and it was certainly deserved.It’s not all about Bale in “The Fighter” either. The ensemble cast combined for four Golden Globe nominations (two wins) and three Oscar nominations (two wins). That’s certainly a huge achievement for one movie.
Without that brilliant cast of actors and actresses, “The Fighter” would just be another based-on-a-true story movie about an athlete who overcomes impossible odds to reach the top.
Bale is former professional boxer Dicky Eklund, a Lowell, Mass., local legend who fought Sugar Ray Leonard and knocked him down. At least that’s the story he tells everyone within earshot.
Dicky’s little brother Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a struggling boxer. Some say he’s a stepping stone for other boxers as they make their way up the rankings, but he’s trying to get over the hump, too.
There’s little doubt as to Dicky’s motives with Micky’s career. Along with the brothers’ mother Alice (Melissa Leo) he’s trying to vicariously live through Micky. It’s the family’s final chance at fame.
The problem is that Alice and Dicky keep misleading Micky and putting him in terrible situations, mostly getting him beat up in the ring by bigger opponents.
Along comes Charlene (Amy Adams), a feisty bartender who begins seeing Micky. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and instantly becomes a thorn in the sides of the family.
With Dicky in jail after assaulting a police officer, Micky takes Charlene’s advice and finds a manager and trainer outside of the family. Soon, he’s winning bouts and finding success.
Trouble comes when Dicky is released from prison and Micky has to figure out if his career is more important than family.
In a way, the movie has the same feel as “Good Will Hunting,” just less math and more fighting.
What makes it stand out is the performances by the actors. In “The Fighter,” they seem to be living the roles instead of just performing them. That’s how you end up with so many actors sitting in the spotlight come awards season.
“The Fighter” isn’t a groundbreaking story, nor is it going to inspire you to want to lace up gloves and hit the ring. It’s an excellent tale about the power of sports and using it to overcome the odds.
“The Fighter,” 1 hour, 55 minutes. R, language, drug content, violence, sexuality.
Source: Great Fall Tribune