I had to go out to Havelock North to see this film. I do get around don't I?!! Saw it at the 3.10p.m screening.
What can I say about this film that hasn't been said already?! Well I'll say this the Oscars are going to be incredibly interesting. The Fighter, True Grit, and The King's Speech are going to be in a three-way scrap for awards. Each deserves its various nominations.
Out of three I can't find one I prefer over the other. Each is just so good and I'd have to rate them equally. They are so far removed from each other in subject matter that it really exposes how good each one is when compared to the other.
I'm a real fan of Mark Wahlberg. When he gets a good role with a good script he really comes to the fore as an actor. He is so good here that the viewer can believe in the role. In fact the whole cast is good and believable. There are no weak links in the film because of such tight casting.
The cast pull off their working class, low income surroundings superbly. It is helped by the director not embelishing or trying to fiddle with the background of Mickey Ward and his family. The family bickering and Ward's brothers crack addiction are uncomprimisingly displayed without gloss or judgement. They enhance the film's grittiness and show the viewer, without sentiment, Ward's background and what he overcame to become the boxer he did.
This realism for me was the key to how well the film worked. Unflinching in everyway. And of course central to it all is that it is a boxing film. The fight scenes are outstanding and Wahlberg looks the part. Muscular, he actually took boxing lessons for the role and even took some real punches on film. Adding so much to the fight scenes is the director filmed them using cameras of the era to give a feel of authenticity. It works brilliantly, and adds so much lustre to the film's realism.
The realism and authenticity are what makes this film so good. It will go down as one of the greatest boxing films ever made. But the boxing musn't over shadow the work and research gone into getting everything 'right'. And everything feels 'right' in this film. Bale spoke repeatedly to Ward's brother to get the feel for him. They used the actual gym they trained in etc. I didn't feel any stone was over turned to get the story, the characters, and the setting absolutely authentic.
This is film making at its very best. It is unlike so many Hollywood movies that are based on real events. They are either historically inaccurate (think the disgraceful U-571 ), or too clean.( Secreatariat may be accused of that, it just didn't 'feel' like the era it was based in). Authenticy is this films greatest strength. Wether you enjoy boxing or not this is a must see film for any genuine afficiando of good cinema and film.
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