The Fighter

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - YOUR MOVIE PLANNER -

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.

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