Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Fighter

The Fighter, 2010
Dir: David O. Russell

I know there is a certain amount of predictability to the fight genre that makes it so appealing to so many. Maybe I'm being unreasonable to want something different, but I think David O. Russell presented this as something different but still made a regular Hollywood movie. Or was it a David O. Russell film that he "eased" up a bit on, that he compromised with Whalberg to make a commercially viable film? Personally I really didn't care for Russell run amok in I (Heart) Huckabees (2004), and thought this felt more like Three Kings (1999), which is a good thing. I'm guessing it might have had something to do with him having nothing to do with the script.

I might not be giving Russell enough credit though because I thought there was some really funny incidental comedy bits in this, those moments that weren't deliberately meant to be funny. There were plenty of those in this film that got the crowd guffawing but that was typical stuff. I mean, I don't even think I can remember what they are. That's how seemingly unimportant the moments were. It may have to do with the idiosyncratic Method (particularly Christian Bale) acting taking place throughout, but it also says something that Russell was able to capture them.

The dedication to 90s visual graphics and the strange video grain notorious to that time actually made me think about Tim and Eric in a strange way. All of this was involved with the HBO broadcasts of the fight and the "Crack House" documentary, which certainly gave the film a different vibe from other "Bahston" films that have come out in recent times. The boxing wasn't too gratuitous, and there weren't any lame motivational speeches either. Whalberg had his "It's my life/It's now or never" Bon Jovi moment, but it could have been way worse. The Micky Ward story has the Arturo Gotti trilogy (where Ward lost the last two fights), but it wasn't told here. I think that could have given the ending a bittersweet taste, but who cares about that, right? Cue WE ARE THE MUTHAFUNKIN CHAMPIONS.

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