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The Fighter - quick review


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#1 of 13 Patrick Sun

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Posted December 17 2010 - 11:40 AM

Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale play half-brothers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter", directed by David O' Russell.


Steeped in ESPN/HBO boxing lore of the last 2 decades of the 20th century, the main plotline follows Micky's professional boxing journey, with potholes created by his half-brother Dicky, who'd been propped up by a singular boxing highlight in the late 1970s but whose life's forune had dissolved into drug abuse as a life style.  Micky's mother managed his early boxing career, but her intentions were good, but her judgment questionable.  Soon enough Micky's life comes to a crossroad, and he has to make changes in his life to move forward with boxing, which impacts his familial relationships.  The family stuff is hilariously written and performed.


I'm fairly certain Christian Bale will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the Oscars, and will probably be the front-runner.  He steals every scene, and puts in a complete performance that pulls no punches (pun unintended).  Melissa Leo is a probably Best Supporting Actress nominee for her work as their mother.  Walhberg is fine as Micky, but in the end the film's script just fills incomplete, as if it's missing a 3rd act, so I actually wished it had a longer running time.


I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.


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#2 of 13 Chad R

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Posted December 18 2010 - 12:53 AM

This is one of those films where everything is there technically. You have beyond amazing performances from Bale and Leo, David O Russell arranges everyone and every shot well, and the dialogue sharply moves these characters through a very rough period in their lives. But in the end, it really all amounts to very little. It's just not that interesting or original of a story. It's another Rocky story where the ending is just as telegraphed. Basically, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the film. There's little depth beyond that.



#3 of 13 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 18 2010 - 02:36 AM



Originally Posted by Chad R 

This is one of those films where everything is there technically. You have beyond amazing performances from Bale and Leo, David O Russell arranges everyone and every shot well, and the dialogue sharply moves these characters through a very rough period in their lives. But in the end, it really all amounts to very little. It's just not that interesting or original of a story. It's another Rocky story where the ending is just as telegraphed. Basically, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the film. There's little depth beyond that.


Since the story is based on real people it's difficult to change the ending from what actually happened.


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#4 of 13 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 18 2010 - 06:41 AM

By the way, I'll give the film a grade of "A-".  I enjoyed it much more than the Black Swan, maybe because I remember the HBO documentary about Ward's brother and the fights, Ward had with Gatti.  I was really into this film already knowing some of those film details.  I agree with Patrick about the family scenes, they were both, funny and quite sad at the same time.






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#5 of 13 Chad R

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Posted December 18 2010 - 07:50 AM



Originally Posted by Robert Crawford 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad R 

It's another Rocky story where the ending is just as telegraphed.


Since the story is based on real people it's difficult to change the ending from what actually happened.


There are lots of true stories out there. That doesn't mean they're all worth telling.



#6 of 13 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 18 2010 - 10:28 AM



Originally Posted by Chad R 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad R 

It's another Rocky story where the ending is just as telegraphed.


Since the story is based on real people it's difficult to change the ending from what actually happened.


There are lots of true stories out there. That doesn't mean they're all worth telling.



So you're saying this true story isn't worth telling?  Please, this was a really good movie with real characters and some great acting perfomances.


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#7 of 13 Chad R

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Posted December 19 2010 - 01:47 AM


Quote:

Originally Posted by Robert Crawford 


So you're saying this true story isn't worth telling?

At the very least the wrong story was told. By focusing its story on Micky it told a very cliche story about a boxer overcoming demons to win. The only trick is his demons weren't all that bad, and the conflict he had to overcome eventually was what led him to his success. So in essence he went a long way to wind up right back where he started. If the film had focused more squarely on Dicky, instead of using him as a side story, they might have had a more dramatic story with more conflict. He was the one that had to change so that his brother could win. But really, even in that scenario it's just another story about a crack addict cleaning up his life.


In all honesty, this movie is Oscar bait. Wahlberg only pushed it through because it offered the opportunity for him and his castmates to win some acting Oscars. But as an audience member I need more than that. Performances are a tool to tell a story, they should be the means to an end. In this case, the story was only there to have an excuse for great performances. I don't go to the movies to only watch performances, I go to be told a story. In the same regard I need more than whiz bang visual effects to entertain me, I need a compelling story with a unique hook. This film just doesn't have that.



#8 of 13 mattCR

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Posted December 19 2010 - 10:45 AM

Bale was great, but I really didn't get the 3rd act.. because it just didn't feel as though there really was one.  I kind of agree with Patrick, this seemed a bit "puff" to get attention.   But, it just didn't seem to be my kind of thing. Maybe this works for others.. big week ahead, already have screenings here in KC this week for a few that are very high on my list, so it should be fun ;)


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#9 of 13 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 19 2010 - 11:52 AM



Originally Posted by mattCR 

Bale was great, but I really didn't get the 3rd act.. because it just didn't feel as though there really was one.  I kind of agree with Patrick, this seemed a bit "puff" to get attention.   But, it just didn't seem to be my kind of thing. Maybe this works for others.. big week ahead, already have screenings here in KC this week for a few that are very high on my list, so it should be fun ;)



I guess they just didn't want to show the Gatti fights which were just brutal as both fighters had to be hospitalized after each fight.  Those 3 fights could have easily extended the film by a good hour.







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#10 of 13 brentl

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Posted December 22 2010 - 03:38 AM

Looking back I have to admit I wasn't completely satisfied with the final product.


I certainly feel for Mickey Ward and all of the crap he went through willingly for the love of the family, and the final

realization that it's about his life, his future, and how he always did things for the family even if he had to suffer because

of it.


He certainly has an interesting family, from a Mother that relies on him completely, his Sister that seemingly do the exact same thing,

to a Father that quickly "see the light", to a Brother not only has MASSIVE problems to overcome but also plays the

guilt and denial cards every time he can.


-Mark Walburg was good, a little one note, but after watching some interviews with the real thing he seemed to play him correctly.


-Christian Bale was exceptional playing a crack addict living in a world of denial. After all of his past antics, and his seemingly huge ego, I was looking at passing up on this movie because of him, but I'm happy I went to see it.


-Melissa Leo was good enough for me to look up on the IMDB site, while I loved her role I looked at it like something I had seen before, and

although she deserves some recognition for her role, it didn't hit me as "award winning".


-Amy Adams was fantastic but it's something I've come to expect from her, strong/stoic and forceful if need be she elevated her role above what it

should have been.


- The "Sisters" were great, well good for a few laughs anyways.


This will probably be somewhere in my top ten, but most probably near the bottom .........76%



#11 of 13 Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 02 2011 - 09:12 AM

Had the chance to catch The Fighter this weekend.


I think I liked it more than you guys seem to have.


I am not a huge Mark Wahlberg fan, but this is one
of the best movies I have seen him in.

I walked away highly satisfied.  Great performances

all around.


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#12 of 13 Michael Elliott

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Posted January 26 2011 - 05:12 PM

I'm with Robert and Ron here.  For the life of me I can't understand all the stuff being said about TRUE GRIT and I can't understand some of the negative reviews this film is getting.


Roger Ebert, more or less, said Micky just didn't have a personality and I think that was part of his personal problem.  The lack of any type of personality is what killed him for the majority of the running time as it allowed the crackhead, idiot and family to control his life.  I think when he meet the Adams character is when he started to have to strength to become his own person.  Even then he was still in the background of everything.  I thought Wahlberg's performance was so great simply because his character wasn't flash, attention grabbing or anyone you'd really pay attention to.  The mom, brother, girlfriend, sisters, crackheads in alley and just about every other character had more flash to them and the way Wahlberg stayed with them was rather amazing.


I love Jeff Bridges but for him to get a nom over Wahlberg was just a joke IMO.


#13 of 13 Russell G

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Posted January 27 2011 - 03:14 AM

I wasn't let down by this one, but I'm with the group where they thought it was a bit flat.  I agree largely with Chad, it's an Oscar bait picture and plays like pretty much every other boxing movie ever made whether based on a true story or not.  It's a weird thing too where the fights themselves are all largely anti-climatic due to being shot in such a realistic way.  I like Wahlberg, but he didn't seem to be playing anything that he hasn't done before.  That kind of "ah shucks!" nice guy naive innocence of only wanting to do right was pretty apparent back in "Boogie Nights".


This was ultimately, for me, the Christian Bale show.  His character was the most interesting, and he was pretty much the only reason to watch this.  That said, Robert recalled seeing the documentary on this brother, I'd be more interested in watching that then sit through this again.

Technically everything that you need in a movie is found in "The Fighter", it's a case for me that it all added up to a "huh" at the end., instead of "wow!"


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