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While yes, it'd be nice to see something in the boxing genre with a little more originality and variation, especially plot-wise, I don't believe this film was simply "mediocre".
As far as camerawork goes, I thought the switches between Dicky's special in the beginning and the "real life" cameras were done subtly and masterfully. I appreciated just how close the camera was willing to go in some of the earlier fights, a lot more than I find normal boxing scenes willing to do, and the way the last fight was shot in a "you're now watching a boxing match on television" style (only going for shots live boxing matches are capable of, even the high-angle reaction shots of O'Keefe and Charlene) was really pretty brilliant in more ways than I'll go into here. Comparing it to Raging Bull, which is generally regarded as the greatest movie of this subgenre, I thought The Fighter had a plot that was a lot more tight and meaningful, and didn't drag where Raging Bull let itself do in parts.
But obviously what really makes the movie is its characters. They're simple yet complex; they can be intelligent when we've already stereotyped them as ignorant. We can hate and pity them, but in the end it's hard to not empathize and see every character, perhaps with the exception of some of the sisters, for what they are: human. The brothers are actually likable, despite their flaws, and we find ourselves caring about them, which is more than I think can be said for the movie previously mentioned. The screenplay didn't fall for the trap that people are ever straight up "good" or "bad", and I was glad to see many of the characters given a shot at redemption. It also probably doesn't hurt that the acting was top notch.
In the end, call it what you will, enjoy it how you did or didn't enjoy it, but I challenge anyone who would go for the quick write-off of "extremely average" to look at this movie a little more critically, and recognize that there are definitely aspects of this piece of cinema that make it special.
Great film, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It wasn't what I was expecting, and I think that's one of the reasons why I liked it so much.
Christian Bale stole the film away with his acting. Truly magnificent actor with a well-deserved Academy win. Melissa Leo also was incredible and another well-deserved Academy win. It was interesting to see Amy Adams in this role and I liked her a lot in it. I'd love to see her do more roles with variety like this one. And as always, Mark Wahlberg gave a solid performance!
As someone mentioned earlier, what sets this boxing film apart from others is the connections the fighter has with everyone around him and his community. The film was just as much about the struggles between family, friends, addiction, and the depiction from the outside looking in. It made the film much more dense and rich than others, in my opinion.
The shots shown with home films added the sense of authenticity and true family ties, rounding together the biographical sense of the film. A nice touch that I would have enjoyed to see more often possibly.
Loved the film, very nicely done with a great cast.
It's hilarious that people are calling this "just another boxing flick." They must not have watched very many boxing movies. Stuff like Rocky and all the others are centered around the main character, that this is HIS fight and it's all about HIM. In this movie, there's so much emphasis put on the supporting cast and their contributions to the main character. This is a film about a community - not a community in the normal sense of the word, but a community in the sense of immediate connections that a person has; i.e., your trainer, your brother, your mother, your girlfriend, your father, your family, your children, and just what they mean to you.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #25 in IMDb's Sport Top 50
This movie ranks #480 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #623 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films