Sometime next month, a friend, colleague or relative will tell you about this “great” movie they just saw. And eventually, you might be surprised to discover it’s the tad under the radar David O. Russell drama “The Fighter.” Now, it seems odd to think of a Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale movie as “under the radar,” but this is one prestige pic that won’t be much longer.
Featuring a number of strong performances from Wahlberg, Bale and Amy Adams in particular, “Fighter” tells the true story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahblerg) and his last run at big time fighting under the wandering eye of his older brother Dickie (Bale) who also happens to be a relapsing crack addict. Adams plays Ward’s girlfriend who is trying to help him break free from his controlling mother (Melissa Leo) and unreliable siblings. The picture has largely been sold as an inspirational drama — which it is — but it’s also very funny and more entertaining than you’d expect. Basically, it’s just as much a crowd pleaser as an awards season player.
One of the film’s key scenes finds Ward with the biggest fight of his career on deck. Dickie has just been released from prison and he expects to return as Micky’s trainer before this huge fight. In the middle of a training session, Micky’s mother and Dickie confront our hero who is torn between his family and his girlfriend and new trainer. Wahlberg is great here, but make sure to pay close attention to Adams. Her eyes say more than any dialogue she was given — her character is devastated — and its a prime example of how this may be Adams’ best work to date.
“The Fighter” opens in limited release on Dec. 10 and nationwide on Dec. 17.