The Fighter review

A “stepping stone” boxer hits new lows and highs thanks to a close but strained relationship with his troubled brother.

The Fighter builds to an underwhelming conclusion given the sporting backdrop but there is a lot to admire along the way. There is more comedy than you might expect and director David O. Russell delivers a nice gritty, intimate feel that pulls back and switches to an interlaced TV style for a more distanced eye on the well-choreographed fights.

The primary focus is on the relationships between Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his friends, family, and new girlfriend and the film necessarily boasts a very strong cast. Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are fine support and Wahlberg is cool and convincing. However, the unassuming lead is unfortunately forgettable. This is helped in no small part by Christian Bale who, while not only playing a complex and colourful character, plays the role with considerable conviction. He is, perhaps, too good. As the credits roll we are treated to a glimpse of the actual brothers the story is based on and at this point you realise not only is Bale’s performance powerful it is uncannily accurate too.

3 out of 5

2nd Feb 2011 | Official site | On IMDb