2010 Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Directed by David O. Russell
I’m not saying I rush out to see every movie that Christian Bale makes. Far from it. But he is an excellent actor, especially in roles that favor a dark, twisted, psychotic, disturbed persona. I first took notice of him as a kid way back when he was in Empire of the Sun (1987). Excellent movie! I also liked him in the Disney live-action musical Newsies (1992), even though singing isn’t his strong suit. Then he scared the bleep out of me in American Psycho (2000), a very strange movie (based on a pretty strange book, I hear, as I have not read it). Initially I had mixed feelings about his being cast as Batman, but now I think it was perfect casting. Batman has always been known as the “Dark Knight,” and brings a whole suitcase full of psychological issues with him into his vigilante activities that Superman (or any other clean-cut, “all-American” comic book hero) never even thought about.
All of this is to get around to saying that Christian Bale can be very intense in the roles he takes on and it works perfectly in The Fighter. The movie is a pet project of Mark Wahlberg who plays the real-life welterweight boxer Micky Ward and Bale portrays his older brother, former boxer turned trainer Dicky Eklund. Wahlberg’s performance is superb as his character struggles to find the right balance between his own wants, needs, and aspirations and those of his family, friends, and supporters. The contrast between Micky’s quiet persistence and Dicky’s boisterous downhill slide into drugs and crime allow both actors to shine as the central characters in what is essentially a family drama interspersed with wry humor and just a bit of sisterly jealously.
BTW, I am also not a particular fan of Mark Wahlberg, but he earned a second look from me when he starred in the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes. I’m still not sure if I like the ending of that one, but as a reworking of a classic sci-fi masterpiece, it didn’t stink.
Cosmic Twins rating: Full Bucket