16 December 2010

The Fighter

Directed by: David O. Russell
Written by: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Full credits at IMDb

This movie’s as hooked on clichés as [Christian] Bale’s character is on crack, and yet a lot of it—at least half of it—kind of works, thanks to Russell’s direction. You can see some meta-parallels that might have attracted him to the project: like Bale’s character, he showed some promise as a kid, but now seems past his prime. (I actually like, if not love, Huckabees, but I don’t think I’m in the majority there.) Like [Mark] Wahlberg’s, he’s been counted-out by copious haters, but this movie marks his revalidation, his relegitimizing, his comeback. (Curiously, this movie is Wahlberg’s pet project, but he took the flattest character of the lot—the dramatic catalyst.)

Bale has his own striking parallel to his character: did you see Terminator: Salvation? That performance was pathetic—pure, but unintentional, self-parody, worse than the Batmans. But this movie offers him some kind of redemption. Sure, it’s an Oscar-crazy, bug-eyed, scenery chewing kind of performance. But it’s solid and, best of all, fits in neatly with the performances around it.

Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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