Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
The film, "The Fighter" opens with Christian Bale talking manically. He has spaced out rolling eyes to startling effect. The camera is grainy as in a documentary and this makes compelling start to a boxing biopic about two half brothers: one young and one burned out, and the bond that they share.
Christian Bale plays Dicky, a once proud boxing wonder who tells people he knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard. Dicky is addicted to crack. He shambles down the neighborhood like a narcotic monkey and enjoys talking himself up. HBO is doing a documentary on him and just wait and see, he tells the neighborhood, he'll make a comeback. A wonder he may have been, but seeing this person now would have me rolling for cover and Christian Bale excellently portrays the awkwardness of an addict and his nerves. Smartly, the director David O. Russell, illustrates the anxiety and the patronizing behaviour that is given in return. We feel the jitters.
Cinematic hunk Mark Wahlberg conveys a solid performance as Micky Ward, Dicky's talented half brother who is all good looks and animal power. In the role, Wahlberg is often bare-chested and sitting pensive in lonely lockers in scenes that echo his young modeling career. Who can blame the director.
At the crux of the film is the family burden brought on by Dicky's addiction and the desire to rise above being a flash-in-the pan.
The most evocative scenes are the quiet scenes between their family and their witches' coven conspiritorial glee of sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. Micky has a desire to leave the family and to go away with Charlene, (Amy Adams) but he is in for life.
Melissa Leo as the peroxide and high-strung deadly sweet matriarch steals the movie delivering more punches than a Cassavetes Gena Rowlands and more cloying sweetness than Ruth Gordon. A true dragon lady.
This is a real life "Rocky" story with some of the same Sly Spirit, but the ensnaring sisterhood of the Ward family and the shaken chemistry of Christian Bale will keep you from wanting smelling salts.
Write to Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org