The Fighter

The Fighter, directed by David O. Russell, is based on the real-life story of “Irish” Micky Ward, who was a junior welterweight boxer in the 1990’s. The film is set in Lowell, Massachusetts; where Ward is from. I went to school in Lowell for a time. I remember it as a harsh place. It was once a center of the textile industry, but it is now economically depressed. It is one of a number of deindustrialised cities in Massachusetts. In such places that have almost nothing going for them, one of the few sources of local pride are residents who manage to be successful, or semi-successful, in sports. In the film, Micky’s older brother is known as “The Pride of Lowell”, because he once fought Sugar Ray Leonard. (I remember when I was young, Marvin Hagler, who was from Brockton – another faded city in the Bay State – was proudly touted by the local media as the “Brockton Bomber”.)

Micky (Mark Wahlberg) is a fighter who is being trained by his crack-addicted, older half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale). His career is managed by his domineering mother (Melissa Leo). Dicky’s criminal exploits cause problems for Micky and for his girlfriend (Amy Adams). After an up and down career, however, Micky gets a chance to fight for the world welterweight title.

The Fighter mostly has a realistic feel to it. (There is a lot of hand-held camera work, a sure sign that a film is trying to be “realistic”.) It was mostly shot in Lowell, and the performances are believable. However, there were a few things I found far-fetched. (In one scene, for example, Micky slaps a man in a crowded bar and no one reacts.) And it inevitably runs up against the clichés of the boxing film genre, as the wayward brother redeems himself and the hero gets his shot at the title in the final scene. As boxing films go, however, it is better than Rocky and much better than Cinderella Man. I recommend seeing The Fighter.

One Response to “The Fighter”

  1. The stars on Break Stars » Blog Archive » Mario Lopez Says:

    […] The Fighter « The Spanish Prisoner […]

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