Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Fighter

Saw "The Fighter" at our local discount theatre. Christian Bale was terrific. Mark Wahlberg was excellent. The story is about a fighter locked in a familiar frustrating Irish family dynamic. Unable to shake loose his crazy family, Wahlberg is surely going down the tubes as a fighter, mismanaged and virtually untrained by his older more experienced brother, a crack addict. You want to scream at them all
and you'll thank your lucky stars if you're an only child.

It's a true story but the seven sisters you would guess to be pure fiction. Like a flock of stupid, nasty crows, they reinforce and support their mother's nutty decisions.  In one memorable scene, they sit crowded into the living room. The camera pans across them; an insane idea is suggested and you see them working themselves into a frenzy of support. Thankfully none of these characters is developed at all, which is masterful and merciful for the audience. The whole family is delusional, denying that their older brother has a drug problem and is an unreliable liar who's destroying their younger brother's chances in the ring.  With that family, anyone would want to get into a ring and pummel somebody!  The only sane person in the group is George, the father, who is totally ignored by everyone. When the fighter starts a relationship with a tough young bartender who takes no crap from anyone, you breathe a sigh of relief as his life starts to change.

Christian Bale lost 30 pounds or so to play the part of the brother. The real people were shown on the out takes so you can see how much effort Bale put into getting the character right. He incorporated all the real person's tics, twitches, body language and eye movements into his character. The Academy Award for best supporting actor was well deserved by Melissa Leo. She played the mother fantastically; she's playing "older" by 15 years or so - the hair and costume work on her was excellent.

Even if you don't like fighting, the film is worth seeing for these two splendid performances.

Christian Bale in character

The real Christian Bale

Melissa Leo as Alice

The real Melissa Leo

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:27 AM

    I am so happy that you enjoyed "The Fighter." Although Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams gave outstanding performances, their roles were not as demanding as the roles of Melissa Leo and Chritian Bale. Both Melissa and Christian swept all of the acting awards this season except for the BAFTA Awards which are given by the British. Now we know why our founding fathers staged "The Boston Tea" Party!