“The Fighter” comes with the usual boxing movie cliches, both in and out of the ring. There is one fight sequence that looks ripped out of “Raging Bull” but only one (perhaps it was an homage). And there are a couple of scenes with Christian Bale, and one with Mark Wahlberg, that made me wince. But these cliches are minor and in no way disturbed my enjoyment of what I think is a rousing movie.
Wahlberg plays a passive character and has the right brand of natural understatement to make his performance convincing. Christian Bale is featured in the showier role, and I generally dislike this kind of character and performance but I thought he was believable. The women rule the movie, though, especially Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. And David O. Russell directs with his usual flair, his eye for the telling detail, and his sharp sense of humor.
I thought “The Fighter” was really funny. The score was great. Nothing too deep but a good picture of the boxing life. A simple story well told.
On that note, let’s kill the Beat of the Day while we’re at it: