Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Fighter

The Fighter:
A Very Special Review For Me

I've been blessed enough to have been around film my whole life, what started as a continuing tradition of every Saturday and Sunday my grandfather, Uncle George and my father all taking me to the movies, and teaching me about how amazing cinema can be, to spending my teenage years making stop motion movies with my transformers and G.I Joes, truly believing I was the next Akira Kurosawa, James Whale, or Alfred Hitchcock, my teenage years is when I started to review films as well, and to this day, I've even been an extra in afew, mostly crowd scenes, because, well where are you gonna hide an almost 7 foot guy built like a train that can transform into a shuttle as well as transform into a robot? One of these such films was 2010's The Fighter, shot in my home town of Lowell Massachusetts, and filmed in the area of the city I was raised in. But thats not why I called this film a special review. I called it a special review because the film is about a friend of not only my mother, but my uncle Brian, and about two brothers whom I have met personally. So it kind of hits home alittle for me. So if you would all be so kind, please allow me to give you my review of a brilliant film, about two amazing people whom my family is proud to know.

The Fighter tells the story of Dicky Eklund and his half brother Micky Ward. Both strong working class irishmen from a working class irish family, and both talented boxers. The film follows Dick and Micky growing up, and how boxing is a traditional irish immigrant thing and how it instills pride in them and their families, all of that stuff. It continues to follow them as they grow, they follow Dicky's career as he raises in the boxing ranks, its rise, and his fall and addiction to Crack Cocaine, it even follows part of the documentary that Dicky was in back in the 1990s called "High On Crack Street" which follows his decent, the whole time, Micky is growing into a boxer in his own right, in the shadow of all thats going on with his older brother, and how it eventually brings Dicky back from the life of addiction. Its a story of family love overcoming all, and how two brothers can find the strength to overcome all just to be better people, and to make their family, and their city proud.

Having followed the production, and with family members knowing both Dick and Micky, I found myself happily seeing things I remember being told about, and even some of the people I know on screen, the film not only went out of its way to film in the city using real locations, but when possible used the real people, like Micky's trainer Mickey O'Keefe, who plays himself after Mark Wahlberg met him and convinced him that he could play himself because acting is just like his day job of being a police officer, where you have to think on your feet and show no fear in what you're doing. The film also doesn't go the easy route and glorify Dicky's years addicted to crack, nor does it really focus much on the documentary of which he's a part, even though he is the only one left alive from it, instead focusing on the story of the two brothers, and how they effect each other, which i feel is a better idea, sometimes how a person gets to a place in life isn't as important or interesting as how they find their way back. The film also lovingly puts the city of Lowell Mass. on display as well, if they needed to work on a certain street, they worked on that street, or used a house, or building, its almost like the city is a secondary character, highlighting most of the local plots of interest and note. Both Mickey and Dick made sure of this as they were consultants on the film who made sure they had final say on most things.

Their influence in the filming of their life story shows mostly in their casting as much as their locational detail. Mark Wahlberg , Christian Bale, and Amy Adams have all stated that the hardest part of their prep for the film was to spend months with the person they're playing so they could get everything about them exact, apparently the whole cast for the Ward/Eklund Family had to spend months with the family as a whole and separately learning just how to mimic them, their movements, their way of talking, all of it, to get the truest feel that you're watching a real family, instead of actors trying to be a family. Something I rather found innovative and different, and rather refreshing. But when your movie is really about a family, you would expect that. Atleast I would hope you would.

So now comes the big question, should you go and see it? Well ofcourse you should, its a brilliant film with a really good story, and for once a real happy ending, not a changed to make it seem happy ending, or some other thing or another. You truly feel like you're part of Dick and Micky's life, like you're watching it all fold out right there and you're in the film, its great. I found myself more drawn in, having heard stories about the two of them from my mom and my uncle Brian, though they grew up with Dick and remember Micky as a child, maybe that clouded my judgment a small amount, but I don't think so. I don't really see anyone that wouldn't enjoy this film, well unless all you want is boobs and explosions, then well, you're shit out of luck, but otherwise, by all means, take sometime and go see this film, you will enjoy it.

Before I give you the trailer, I'd like to take a second and give you another link, if you would like to see the documentary which real life Dicky was a part of, you can find it at the following link "High On Crack Street: Lost Lives In Lowell" (<- thats the link!) if you haven't seen it, you can watch it there for free.

Ok now, here is the trailer for The Fighter....




  1. I just watched this yesterday, I have to say it was amazing. I like a good sports movie anyway, but man, I loved the documentary style this movie had and lets face it, Bale was mad awesome. The cathartic turn around near the end was very emotional and its a very good story.

  2. Yeah Bale was great as Dicky, a role he needed to recoup more from that melt down on the Terminator Salvation set and get his career back on track.

    It was still weird for me though, seeing the lives of people I know, seeing my neighborhood, places I have been, places I spent time at, places all over the part of Lowell I grew up in all over the screen. Mindblowing yo.