David O. Russell directs Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams in this 1990s set boxing biopic where struggling undercard fighter Mickey Ward must overcome his own lack of confidence and the distracting influence of his brother / trainer’s spiral into crack addiction.
Bale’s most layered acting tour-de-force and Amy Adam’s sexiest role orbit Wahlberg’s generously blank, sweetly lunkheaded lead turn. From its rousingly unhip jukebox soundtrack to its video camcorder lensed bruising fight sequences, everything about The Fighter just chimes wonderfully. It is a broad film, self consciously gritty and maudlin… and it is one of those movies I could watch on endless repeat. Like Moneyball, I can’t quite figure out why me, someone who cares little for sport, can’t seem to get enough of this perfect production. Like an ear worm rock anthem, maybe the simplicity and unfussy confidence of Russell’s technique here is what keeps bringing me back. The cinematic equivalent of Boston’s Don’t Stop Believin’ or Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer!
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