DRAMA; 1hr 56min
STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams
Blood brothers: from left, Wahlberg and Bale
Boxing half-brothers “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahlberg, in fighting-fit shape) and Dicky Eklund (Bale) are a shambolic double act in director David O. Russell’s The Fighter. But since its red-blooded heroics are taken from Ward’s true, victorious story, you’d better believe they mean business in the ring. Weed-thin, gabby Dicky was a champ but is now an addict. His polar-opposite kid brother has winning potential as a boxer. But he needs the right guidance to get there, which as Micky’s forceful new girlfriend, Charlene (Adams), sees it, Dicky and the boys’ tough-as-nails mother, Alice (Leo), are not equipped to give him.
The story of how the hardscrabble Ward–Eklund clan from blue-singlet Lowell, Massachusetts, overcame their differences to take Micky all the way to the 2000 world title is a grabber from the ground up, when Micky’s lowest point becomes his new beginning. Russell has cast his keyhole view with actors who look refreshingly like the real, raw deal and weigh in with the unvarnished goods in an affirmation of the combined might of family and the payoff from keeping the faith.