Journalism: Reviews: Film: The Fighter

From the Ghettoblaster Magazine

The Fighter
dir. David O. Russell

The story of real life boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his complicated family is the third film by Director David O. Russell with Mr. Wahlberg. Once again Russell considers how actors, audience, and media perceive one another fluidly and Russell does so in clever, interesting ways. But, as with their other efforts (Three King's 1999 & I ♥ Huckabees, 2004) the themes, however smart, don't quite make a movie. The Fighter falters with draggy editing, a predictable story line, and limp moral themes.

However, The Fighter wins with great characters and sense of place (the movie can do for white working class New England what the Sopranos did for Italians in the Jersey suburbs). The entire talented supporting cast led by Christian Bale (who plays Ward's brother Dicky Eklund) manages to embody not just the characters; but the ethos and decayed physical environment of a beat-up New England town with time-warp verisimillitude. (The exception is Wahlberg who seems to be trying so hard to play the regular-guy Micky so that all was left is his movie star face – and buffed up body – plunked down in working-class post-industrial Lowell Mass.) The film's driving force is the family matriarchy led by the brother's daunting mother Alice Eklund (Melissa Leo) and her battalion of daughters: seven foul-mouthed sisters who form a beer cozy wielding chorus of Farah Fawcett wannabes – never has a stampede of white Reeboks been so terrifying.

– Zachary Barowitz