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Review: The Fighter

Before I start writing this I'd just like to get something out of my system - WHERE IS MARK WAHLBERG'S OSCAR NOMINATION?!

The Fighter follows boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his road to the welterweight boxing championships. Micky is faced with the struggle whether to turn his back on his brother/trainer, the troubled Dicky Ward (Christian Bale) and his overbearing mother (Melissa Leo), in favour of a new focus, his girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams) and alternative training.

I'm not a huge fan of David O. Russell ever since I saw the Lily Tomlin-Russell argument on the set of I Heart Huckabees, but even I can't deny he's an excellent film-maker. The script, albeit pretty similar to any other sports drama still manages to be captivating. We know how the film's going to end up, however this does not detract at all from the story or enjoyment. I don't think that's a particular specific problem with The Fighter, it's pretty difficult to make any sports drama and not fall into the cliches... unless it's monkey tennis or something.

Despite the backdrop of boxing, The Fighter is also a powerful drama on family life, drug addiction and loyalty. You'd be stretched if you were trying to find a poor performance in The Fighter: Mark Wahlberg who fought to have this movie made is absolutely phenomenal as Micky. We see a man torn between loyalty to family and his own hopes for the future. Marky Mark is physically perfect and carries the boxing scenes off tremendously well. As I've already stated, the fact he's not been nominated for any of the big awards is criminal. Christian Bale is also perfect in this - delivering what you might call an intense performance. Former boxer, Dicky is followed about by a camera crew, making what he calls "a comeback film" and when this film premiers (showing Dicky's life spiralling out of control), Bale is particularly great. The other highly talked about performance is that of Melissa Leo, the matriarch of the Ward family - Melissa is excellent as the controlling mother, who deep down just wants the best for her family. And also Amy Adams, is great as Micky's girlfriend, who has some brilliant scenes with Melissa Leo.

The documentary format the film occasionally dips into works really well - adding a great sense of realism and humanity to the characters and movie. It also helps to make it quite distinct and stylish. The fight scenes in particular are very well choreographed and not overly bloody, yet still manage to show the brutal nature of the sport.

This is really Wahlberg's movie, and you can tell his heart and soul have gone into getting this made. This is one of the finest performances of his career, so it's certainly worth a watch.

The Fighter 4749517515290944137

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