Quite frankly, I was NOT excited to see this because I thought, “Here we go again…’The Wrestler’ was so huge that we’re now going to get all these failed-athlete-makes-comeback flicks.” The executive producer of “The Fighter” IS Darren Aronofsky, who produced and directed “The Wrestler”, so it seemed like he had discovered a winning genre, much like a lot of the Mafia-entrenched directors/producers form the 70s (you know who I mean).
This time, however, the director is David O. Russell (“I Heart Huckabees”, “Spanking the Monkey”, and lots more) who has reteamed with one of his “Three Kings” stars, Mark Wahlberg. (You didn’t think it would be George Clooney, did you? If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you get a D- for your knowledge of Hollywood gossip).
The beginning of the movie leads one to believe that this is, indeed, “The Wrestler II”, as we’re presented with a gaunt Christian Bale allegedly being filmed by HBO as he makes a comeback from a career that nosedived after a surprise win back when over Sugar Ray Leonard.
I had heard that this was definitely Christian Bale’s movie. What spiked my interest was that he is being whispered about as an Oscar contender and it’s fun to see all of those movies before the awards. Bale definitely is in top form (both acting-wise and, despite him once again descending into a scary- slim body weight, he’s quite buff), but the rest of the cast is equally amazing. Wahlberg (so in shape you wish he’d drop his drawers again) certainly holds his own with a quiet, yet incredibly strong performance and Amy Adams is terrific (as always) in the Marisa Tomei role. Nevertheless, it is Melissa Leo…in MY opinion…who just knocked it friggin’ out of the park. But then, when doesn’t she (check out “Conviction” …or anything else she’s ever been in)? And special mention should be made of the sisters…you’ll understand once you see the film. They’re HILARIOUS!
I don’t think I really need to tell you what this movie is about because I think you already know, but it really is worth the time and money spent, despite adhering to a tried and true formula. This film, however, is based on a true story, so we’ll give it a pass. Make sure you stay through the credits because you’ll get to see the real people these characters are based on. I enjoyed every moment of “The Fighter” because it is so well served by both the off-the-charts great acting and direction. In fact, as I left the theater, every single remark I heard had to do with how much the speaker liked the movie. It was basically 100% “That was REALLY good!”
One thing: I wonder if Bale really does have a bald spot in the back of his head or if he did that for the role, since he’s playing someone who’s 40 years old (Bale is going on 37). Does that mean that hair removal from one’s head will now replace getting fat or too thin to show how dedicated one is as an actor? Then again, didn’t Bette Davis pioneer that when she played The Virgin Queen (AKA Elizabeth I)?
Hmmm…wonder what the legions of “Baleheads” will think of THIS?
David O. Russell
, Dendrie Taylor
, Jenna Lamia
, Erica McDermott
and Melissa McMeekin