The Fighter (2010)
- Micky Ward - the fighter - played by Mark Wahlberg (Bobby Mercer, the main character of Four Brothers)
- Dicky Eklund - Micky's brother and trainer; a washed up former boxer who's addicted to crack - played by Christian Bale (Batman in The Dark Knight)
- Charlene - Micky's girlfriend - played by Amy Adams (the young nun in Doubt)
- Micky's Mom - acts as Micky's manager - played by Melissa Leo (I haven't seen her other roles; her largest seems to be in Frozen River)
- Micky's Dad - becomes Micky's trainer - played by Jack McGee (Jerry Reilly, the former chief in Rescue Me)
Micky is a boxer who is trying to make a name for himself. His brother, Dicky, is his trainer. He is so outgoing and energetic that he often overshadows his brother. Dicky believes that he is going to make a huge comeback. The problem is that Dicky is always letting Micky down because of his crack addiction. Most of the first act of the movie is told through an in-movie documentary filming of Dicky's comeback. It's later revealed that the segment is actually about how crack ruined Dicky's life for a documentary.
Micky is being used as a stepping-stone boxer for other boxers' careers. He wants to break out of this and become a better boxer himself. Charlene, Micky's Dad, and Micky's other trainer O'Keefe try to tell Micky that Micky is failing because of Dicky and Micky's Mom. When Dicky and Micky's Mom make Micky fight another boxer that he really shouldn't, Micky starts to believe everyone else. A manager from Las Vegas gives Micky his card, suggesting that Micky drop his family and move to Las Vegas to be paid to train full-time.
Micky's family starts to fall apart when Micky says that he is considering the move. Dicky says that to keep Micky happy, he will get the money to pay Micky full-time. Dicky starts to prostitute his girlfriend, and, disguised as an officer, he steals the john's car during the act. He is eventually caught and sent to prison. During the arrest, the police break Micky's hand while Micky tried to defend his brother.
Micky's Dad and O'Keefe find another manager and agree to continue Micky's career and training under the condition that Micky's Mom and Dicky are no longer involved. Micky reluctantly agrees. Micky starts to become a better fighter, rising to point of earning a title shot.
Dicky is released from prison. He tries to assume his former role as Micky's trainer, but Micky tells him no, starting a full-scale family argument. During the family fallout, Micky says that he hates how Micky's Mom constantly worships Dicky while Micky stays in Dicky's shadow. He wants his entire family to be together, but that isn't possible. For the first time Micky needs to put himself first.
Dicky goes back to the crack house. Rather than getting high, he walks away, determined to be clean for Micky. He convinces Charlene that he's clean, so Micky invites him back.
The whole family then prepares Micky for the title shot together. Finally, Micky manages to best his opponent and becomes the world welterweight champion.
If you enjoyed The Wrestler, you'll enjoy The Fighter. This isn't to say that the two are very similar in story. Both use a similar style and cover a similar situation, albeit with very little overlap. I had heard from a friend that both movies were created by the same people, but I have only found evidence contradicting that.
The Fighter is based on the life of Micky Ward who won the above championship fight in 2000. A few people play themselves, such as O'Keefe and Dicky's girlfriend.
I enjoyed The Fighter. The story was enthralling. Although the run time is 115 minutes, none of the movie feels like filler. I thought all the arguing would have took me out of the movie; I find bickering to be annoying rather than entertaining. The arguments are kept short and to the point. Even the training montages are very short to the point of non-existent (in a good way). It's as if the creators thought, "OK. Micky trained. You got it? OK. Let's get to the results already."
The movie is very character driven. I like how the movie, even though it is about Micky, shows more than just Micky's point of view. If it had, I think it would have become less believable. Things would have seemed exaggerated. Because we know the reasoning and history of each character, the pieces of the story fit together well.
There are two forms of comic relief: the interaction between Charlene and Micky's Mom and 7 sisters, and Dicky's personality. Both add levity without being forced or taking away from the movie. They were well placed. We see that Dicky's actual personality is very much like Bale's portrayal during the ending credits during a quick segment with real-life Micky, Dicky, and either O'Keefe or Micky's Dad (I forget).
I think Wahlberg and Bale play well together. Wahlberg's characteristic stoicism and Bale's energy contrast each other while still playing off each other. Bale's performance as a crack addict is well done; nothing is too exaggerated or lacking. The Fighter is worth watching, and I think I'll have to get a copy of the DVD to hear the commentaries.
Final Verdict - 4/5