The Fighter (2010) Director: David O.Russell

The Fighter is not a film about boxing. Well, technically it IS but there is so much more than that going on - it's a film about addiction, it's a film about family, and ultimately it's about love.

Based on a true story, Mark Wahlberg - usually very hit and miss - plays up and coming boxer Micky Ward, who's known as a 'stepping stone' for other boxers to beat on their way up. Micky is trained by his older brother Dicky Eklund (an outstanding Christian Bale), a former boxer who knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard. Dicky's also a crack cocaine addict, so his training sessions and commitment to his brother are a little erratic. It's not that he doesn't care or doesn't want to be there, but his drug addiction swamps him.

We follow both of their journeys as Micky makes his way up in the boxing world, and Dicky's life spirals out of control. Wahlberg and Bale put in extraordinary physical performances - you believe Wahlberg is a boxer, and Bale once again takes his acting commitments to the max looking thin and withdrawn as a drug addict. The Fighter absorbs you from the beginning as you become part of their crazy family; Micky and Dicky's seven sisters bring comic relief to the gritty subject matter, and at times we feel like Micky's girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams) - we're observing this family on the outside, but we're part of it. The family have a Mafia-like bond, and don't take very well to Charlene, with the sisters calling her a 'skank' and a 'MTV girl'.

As we work our way up to Micky's big fight (to say anything else, would be to give it away) and Dicky's salvation, we are willing both of these characters to victory - Micky to win, and Dicky to beat his addiction. Wahlberg's final fight in the ring is thrilling - you forget you are actually watching a movie, that's how realistic it feels. You're cheering him along at the ringside.

A knockout, in more ways than one, The Fighter thoroughly deserved its Oscar accolades and is an intelligent, gripping and emotional movie.
5/5 KOs