Thursday, December 30, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: THE FIGHTER


THE FIGHTER packs more of a wallop than THE TOWN or CONVICTION. It's yet another gritty true-tale of life in the big/little city of Boston. Lowell Mass, actually. Mark Wahlberg stars as boxer Micky Ward who floats to the top of the welterweight heap, but not before fighting off his family: his mother/manager Alice-- Melissa Leo in a knock-out performance, his tattooed bar-tending girlfriend Charlene played by Amy Adams who socks one of Micky's sistas in the kissa in between expletives, and his once promising fighter-turned-crack-addict brother Dicky: Christian Bale.

Bale is scary good as the older brother with inner demons to battle. Hollow-eyed and echoing the well worn tale of how he once knocked out Sugar Ray, he now coaches his kid brother. Taught him everything he knows. When Dicky lands in prison and sits down with the other inmates to watch the big screening of the documentary film that's been made about his life, he caves in as he sees onscreen what he has become: a drugged-out has been. The scene hits you right in the gut.

Wahlberg plays Micky like the calm center at the eye of a hurricane, his snarky, frizzy-haired sisters hovering on the outskirts of every grueling scene like a Greek/Irish chorus. Micky may be the guy in the ring, but he's the most appealing and least pugnacious member of this yelling, screaming tribe.

THE FIGHTER rolls to a predictable close, but not before making you catch your breath and root for these "charactas," duking it out for a little dough, a little dignity, and a swing at the big time.

6 GOLDEN GLOBE nominations-- watch for it at Oscar time!

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