Thursday, January 13, 2011

Film Reviews: The Fighter (dir David O. Russell)

       So it occurred to me that I watch an ungodly amount of movies. It's not an unusual day when I watch two or three sometimes four films.  I partly watch films because I consider myself a film maker, animation being my chosen medium.  So I am one of the privileged who can say legitimately that I watch films as research.  But I started watching films because of my dad. He was a major classics buff and made damn sure that I was brought up with good taste. His favorite actress to this day is Greta Garbo (Ninotchka) , and refers to her as "the Face of the Century".  I also feel like in certain ways, we connect through film as films take place of shared experiences as a society. So I should probably spew my opinion of some of the films out onto the inter-webs because that seems to be the new shared consciousness.

     So today I watched The Fighter Directed by David O. Russell starring Mark Walberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams. At first the film starts out leading us down the path to believe that what we are watching is the come back documentary of Christian Bale's character Dick Eklund, however the plot thickens and we are privy to an intensely dysfunctional family dynamic that has Walberg's charatcer's (Micky Ward) boxing career being sold short to make a fast dime for "the Family".  Aside from the harsh reality of how "the family" is portrayed the rest of the film is some what predictable, although satisfying in it's predictability. The audience knows Micky has to triumph in the end, however the journey to this inevitable triumph is what makes the story interesting. The conflict of interests between Micky's mother and his career  forces the question where personal responsibility ends,  boundaries begin to confront the necessity of personal growth and autonomy. The rest of the film is almost as predictable as a live action Disney movie. The only redeeming quality of the film lay in its creative camera work, sound design and editing. Script was not it strong point, although the dialogue had a natural bantering quality at moments that added to it's realism. In one scene at a bar the family is chattering away in a lively manner while Walberg's character sits quietly to the side enjoying their company from a modest distance. The body language subtly indicates that his character is ready to move on, he just hasn't been given the opportunity at this point. The Fighter is the happy Hollywood version of 2008's The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke which was more emotionally realistic in it's stark view of life for a "one trick pony".  I recommend The Fighter for guys who have girlfriend's who owe them favors, boxing enthusiasts every where, as well as people who love complicated family dynamics in their dramas.
3 out of 5

Next up both True Grit(s) as soon as I can watch the 1968 John Wayne version without falling asleep.

On a personal note I'm still working on ideas for the Book, and animating like a crazy person. More art stuff soon, and maybe even a line test! ooh you lucky bastards

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