Friday, March 18, 2011

The Fighter: Grade D


The Fighter (2010)

Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale , Amy Adams. Director David O. Russell.

A couple of brothers, Micky and Dicky, are young Irish boxers in Lowell, MA (Wahlberg and Bale). Mostly they are losers. Micky got beat and can’t seem to recover his momentum. Dicky also had a high point but then turned to drugs and alcohol. Dicky acts as Micky’s trainer, their mother is their manager, and they all have delusionally optimistic hopes of winning “the big fight” someday. The theme is Rocky, and the setting is low-class suburban squalor.

I tried hard, but could not find anything to like about this film, with the exception of Amy Adams, who, even in a stereotypical role, manages to shine. Otherwise, everything in this movie, from the casting to the costumes is the most brain-dead cliché you can imagine. Even the makeup is cliché and that's hard to do! Needless to say, so is the dialog and the cinematography.

The boxing scenes are utterly unconvincing. At no time did I believe Christian Bale’s character, a skinny little smart-ass runt, was a boxer. Wahlberg has big muscles, but does not move like a boxer. The story line is loosely connected scenes of blatant melodrama mixed with even more clichéd sets. Any dramatic tension that might be identified is completely contrived.

To my astonishment, Bale won Best Supporting for his over the top, hammy parody of a real person. His performance is so bad, I would say it is unintentionally humorous. That just shows what I know! USA Today called this “One of the year’s best films.” Maybe here on Earth it was, but on Mars, where I live, we are still trying to get the smell out of our living pods.

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