Boxing and the movies have gone hand in hand in Hollywood for decades. And nearly all boxing pictures tend to follow the same narrative arc: a young man from the wrong side of the tracks gets the chance to make something of himself by climbing into the ring, before, inevitably, it all goes horribly wrong. Some of the most iconic moments in cinema have taken place in and around the ring, from Sly Stallone running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art to Robert De Niro’s burntout Jake LaMotta rehearsing his lines before making an appearance in his nightclunightclub in Raging Bull. PaPaul Newman and DaDaniel Day-Lewis ha have also donned th the gloves in So Somebody Up Th There Likes Me and The Boxer. Sow So when David O. Russell teamed up with MMarkkWWahlberg hlb anddChChristian Bale to make The Fighter, there seemed little left to say about the subject. Yet, despite the well-worn ground, this movie manages to capture the difficulties, both personal and professional, that surrounds a young man whose family are depending on him to lift them out of poverty.
The film is based on the real-life story of Irish-American boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), who, after a disappointing career in the late 1980s, made a stunning comeback in the early part of the last decade. At the heart of the movie are two Oscar-winning performances: Christian Bale as Micky’s drug-addicted half-brother, Dicky, and Melissa Leo as his pushy mother, Alice, both of whom are determined that their boy will bring them fame and fortune.
This is a gritty, character-driven drama that eschews the showier devices of the average sports movie to portray the grim reality of pro boxing.