Every once in awhile a movie comes out of left field and completely floors you. Usually this happens at a film festival, because no one has seen the movie before its first screening and you walk in ready for anything. But it’s rare for this to happen when you’re talking about a big Hollywood release. The reason is by the time it’s ready to be seen, there is usually a lot of advance buzz letting you know one way or the other if the film works. But for some reason, when it comes to David O. Russell’s The Fighter, which is based on the true story of boxers Dicky and Micky Ecklund, people around town have been oddly silent.
But with The Fighter getting ready to be released December 10th in select cities and on the 17th everywhere, Paramount has started showing the movie and I can tell you it’s one of the best films you’ll see this year. Filled with award caliber performances from every cast member and great direction from David O. Russell, The Fighter has come out of nowhere to completely shake up my top ten of the year. Also, while all the acting is incredible (even Mark Wahlberg), Christian Bale rips through the film like a tornado and he’s easily the front runner to win an Oscar. More after the jump – including 3 movie clips and 19 images from the film.
Even though I just singled out Christian Bale for his incredible work as Dicky Ecklund, I also need to point out Melissa Leo might have delivered her finest performance as Alice, the mother of the Ecklund clan.
For those not familiar with the story of the Ecklund brothers from Lowell, Massachusetts, here’s the official synopsis:
Dicky Ecklund (CHRISTIAN BALE) is a former boxing hero that squandered his talents and threw away his shot at greatness. Micky Ward (MARK WAHLBERG), his half brother, is the struggling journeyman boxer who spent his life living in his big brother’s shadow. The Fighter is inspired by the true story of two brothers who, against all the odds, come together to train for a historic title bout that will unite their fractured family, redeem their pasts and, at last, give their hard-luck town what it’s been waiting for: pride. The story unfolds on the gritty, blue-collar streets of Lowell, Mass, where Dicky was once known as “The Pride of Lowell” having gone the distance with the world champion Sugar Ray Leonard. However, after losing that fight, like the town of Lowell, Dicky’s fallen on hard times.
His boxing days are behind him and his life has become shattered by drug abuse. Younger brother Micky, meanwhile, has become the family’s fighter and fading hope for a champion. But despite all of his work, Micky’s career is failing and he loses fight after punishing fight. Dicky and Micky’s tougher-than-nails mother, Alice (MELISSA LEO), manages his career and Dicky serves as his highly unreliable trainer. When Micky’s latest fight nearly kills him, it looks like it could all be over – until his iron-willed new girlfriend, Charlene (AMY ADAMS), convinces him to do the unthinkable: split with his family, pursue his own interests and train without his increasingly volatile and criminal brother. Now Micky has the chance of a lifetime as he earns a shot at the World Championship. But when his brother and dysfunctional family reenter his life, they must all reconcile their pasts and become more than just a family in name. With Micky and Dicky reunited, this becomes more than just a fight – it’s an all-out comeback for these brothers, their family, and their city. When it’s over, Micky will have become a champion, a hometown legend, and the new “Pride of Lowell”. The Fighter is a moving and often humorous drama about fighting for the people you love.
Again, The Fighter is one of the best films I’ve seen this year and if you just know Christian Bale from his work as Batman, you will not believe your eyes when you watch The Fighter. Here’s 3 clips and a ton of images. Look for interviews with the cast the week of release.
click on any image for high-resolution