The Fighter is the true story of two talented professional boxing brothers. Dicky Eklund and Micky Ward, are stepbrothers but Micky has always looked up to his brother Dicky who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard and was known as ‘The Pride of Lowell'.
But, Dicky's glory years have washed away after many brutal years of alcohol and drug use. However, Micky has real potential as a fighter and could go all the way. If only his washed-up trainer brother could stay straight and his Mother, who manages him, could get Micky into the right fights to position him for a world title.
As Dicky slips deeper into his desperate world of addiction, he finds himself in jail and Micky must make some tough decisions to reach his dream. With the love and support of his girlfriend, new management and a tight new training schedule, Micky finds that he must turn away from his family. But, when a fit and clean Dicky is back on the scene, his undeniable talent as his trainer brings them back together. Just how far can Micky go and can his overwhelming family keep from destroying his career?
The Fighter is a complex and real story with a raw feel, that delivers a much bigger punch than most boxing movies. The stand out is how Director David O. Russell chose to film it. Flipping in and out of scenes gives the film a reality TV feel. Sections are loosely woven throughout the film to blend into the greater story. At first, this gives The Fighter a cheap TV production feel, but this changes as the balance shifts away from the documentary style. But it does succeed in adding a powerful intimacy and uniquely special feel to the final outcome.
On top of this, David O. Russell maintains a balanced focus on both brothers throughout the whole film, leaving it unclear as to who exactly The Fighter is. Yes, predominantly this is Micky's story, but Dicky's internal fight is just as potent. So, it could be said that The Fighter is a portrayal of both brother's rise from the ashes.
Mark Wahlberg was involved with the production of The Fighter and knew Micky Ward personally. He gives a dedicated, but a rather sympathetic portrayal of Micky Ward. Amy Adams is fantastic playing his longterm girlfriend, Charlene Fleming. In fact, her performance received nominations for all of the big film awards.
However, regardless of their excellent performances, it is two of the other cast members that stood out. First off, Melissa Leo gives an incredible portrayal of the controlling mother. She walked away with an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and an Actors Guild Award. Then, Christian Bale did the same for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund.
I love this film however, it should be noted that The Fighter really does have quite a brutal backstory. But, overall, The Fighter is a fantastic piece of cinema. Far more than just a boxing movie and well worth a watch just to see Christian Bale's amazing performance.