Title: The Fighter
Genre: Drama, Sport
David O. Russell
Music: Michael Brook
Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Sugar Ray Leonard
Finally I have time to watch this Oscar-winning film, twice in a row. It is a solid and caring theatrical work, a superbly contrived and deftly orchestrated sport-drama to be reckoned among its boxing sub-genre magnum opuses such as ROCKY (1976), RAGING BULL (1980), MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004), and it belongs to this new decade.
The pseudo-fly-on-the-wall boxing scenes in the film is remarkable both visually and mentally, even though boxing/sports films never fall into my radar range. Bloody yes, but on account of its biographic attribute, the zenith here is definitely not about boxing, the familial conflict is the remedy which we are longing for.
Guiding us through this dramatic mental adventure is director David O. Russell’s virtuoso prowess, whose filmography includes I HEART HUCKABEES (2004) and THREE KINGS (1999), both stars Mark Wahlberg. Russell’s excellence could be easily detected through the dexterous shots, the terrific milieu setting and the intensifying tensions among his actors, also the retro soundtrack has an irresistible enthrallment on me.
Anyhow, two Oscars for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo resolutely evince that it is an actors’ film, but in the case of Christian and Melissa, their versatilities are no big surprises here for their trademarks as the drug-addict brother (stop torturing your body, Mr. Bale, that’s enough, it’s only a job!) that and the tough-as-nails yet solicitous mother. The bona fide revelation is Amy Adams, whose previous screen image had been pigeonholed as an innocuous and adorable sweetheart (as in JULIE & JULIA 2009, ENCHANTED 2007, as well as her other Oscar-nominated roles in DOUBT 2008 and JUNEBUG 2005), in THE FIGHTER, Amy demonstrates her resilient magnetism to impress everyone to incarnate herself as another true fighter, 3 Oscar nominations in 5 years, which is a quite astonishing achievement, so as to say, a late bloom never come too late, even for a career as ruthless as actress. Let’s not forget our protagonist, the actor/producer Mark Wahlberg, who clearly embarks on a more profitable occupation as a producer meanwhile his acting in the film is by comparison sheerly overshadowed by his co-stars, although I cannot deny that he had been working hard for his role, and to play a blooming boxer at the age of 39 is courageous.
So, it’s ambivalent and useless to guess who is the real fighter in this film (maybe a rename to THE FIGHTERS are more soothing), in reality, we are all fighters to endure and survive in the mundane world (thanks god I don’t have 7 sisters for the sake of the poor parenthood).