The Fighter Reviews
With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness...and that the most impressive thing about it is technique.
A tough, bare-knuckled, compassionate meditation on every family's rope-a-dope between tribal bonds and self-definition. Both, it turns out, are worth going to the mat for.
While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.
Because we aren't deeply invested in Micky, we don't care as much as we should, and the film ends on a note that should be triumph but feels more like simple conclusion.
It's audacious, it's fun, it's rowdy, and it's just twisted enough to always be interesting. Beyond that, it's one of the year's best acting showcases and likely to grab multiple Oscar nominations.
"The Fighter" easily could have slipped into boxing-film cliches, but Russell doesn't let that happen. Instead, it lands its hardest blows while chronicling the struggle of a family, which is a far more interesting fight.