The Fighter tells the story of boxer brothers Mickey Ward and Dicky Eklund. Really, it tells two stories. One is about "Irish" Mickey Ward, the underdog little brother of Eklund, and his rise to boxing fame. The other less fortunate story is about boxing champ Dicky Eklund, who at the height of his career went the distance with Sugar Ray Leonard and became known as "The Pride of Lowell" (Massachusetts), until his addiction with crack cocaine ultimately landed him in prison.
There have been plenty of boxing films made, Raging Bull and Rocky among the most well-known, but The Fighters blazes its own path. I wouldn't say it's cut from entirely new cloth, as some of the triumphant underdog staples are there, but it's hard to find fault in that when those moments are based on actual events. And even if we have seen some of the moments before, it doesn't make them any less compelling, and the realistic grounding in the story and the performances make it hard not to cheer for Ward.
Wahlberg went through a lot of boxing training in preparation for his role, and he even takes his own punches, and it all results in intensely realistic matches that are more or less indistinguishable from the real thing. I can't stress enough how much Wahlberg brought to this film. Between his acting, his physique, and his boxing talent, Wahlberg is at the top of his game.
And yet, Bale still finds a way to steal the picture as Eklund. While Ward seems to have a pretty calm personality, Dicky is so much more of a character, both in his speech and his mannerisms. Bale is a man who embraces roles to a stunning degree, and his wiry, energetic portrayal of Eklund is probably his finest work, and I don't say so lightly. His dedication to roles is unmatched as far as I'm aware and it absolutely shows.
Wahlberg and Bale may lead the pack, but Amy Adams turns in a powerful performance as Charlene Fleming, Ward's girlfriend and biggest supporter behind Dicky. Adams was supposedly eager to break type with her character, and that she did, in a big way. Adams as never played a character as fierce as Fleming, but she retains her trademark heart and charm.
The Fighter is a film that took years to make. The rights were acquired way back in 2003 and Wahlberg got involved in 2005 because of his friendship with fellow Massachusetts native Mickey Ward, whom the film is about. Wahlberg spent years getting in shape for The Fighter. While working on other films, he would get up early just to hit the gym, even as the film's fate was uncertain. His persistence paid off, because not only was The Fighter made, but it's just a phenomenal film that showcases Wahlberg, Bale, and Adams in some of their best performances. The Fighter is the new underdog story that all others should aspire to be, and Bale's performance is something to remember for years to come.
What do you think of The Fighter
Share your opinions on our forum