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Oscar Countdown, Day 1: The Fighter

Posted on the 18 February 2011 by Cinefilles @cinefilles

Counting down the hours until Hollywood's most golden of awards galas? So are we! Semi-obsessively. Join us at noon for the next ten too-long days as we mentally prep our Oscar pool ballots and give each of this year's Best Picture nominees a once over and half.
Oscar Countdown, Day 1: The FighterPhoto: allmoviephoto.com
THE FIGHTER
THE RUNDOWN: "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a welterweight boxer who wants to make it big despite the obstruction that is his washed-up, drug-addict, former boxer bro Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Alongside his struggle toward glory is the tense, explosive warfare of his home life.
WHY IT'S GOLDEN: The Fighter doesn't follow the rules of the standard boxing movie (Marky Mark hardly gets any time in the ring!). But as you soon come to realize, that's not really the point. And thank Jesus Bale! This David O. Russell flick and Darren Aronofsky reject brings a solid one-two-punch of it's own, thanks to it's down-and-dirty cinematography, salty scandal-driven script (Cake! Crystal! MTV girls!) and two of the best performances of the year (Melissa Leo and Bale). Micky and Dicky aren't just fighting for fame, they're fighting to keep their eccentric, way-extended (I'm talking SIX sisters!) fam together in the least ridiculous way possible. To use their truly winning vernacular, what's not to fackin' love? - Emily
WHY IT'S NOT: Aside from a tension-lacking final showdown (which is kind of imperative for great sports flick), there's something else far more apparent from the start. As a producer, lead actor and an overall driving force behind this film, there's a lot expected of Mark Wahlberg. That's not to say that a brilliant supporting cast couldn't bring this film to the win, but when the film is called The Fighter and Wahlberg is "the fighter" in more than one sense of the term, he needs to bring it. Or at least deliver a marginally above average performance. Unfortunately, Wahlberg as Micky Ward is Wahlberg as he was in We Own the Night. Or Four Brothers. Or The Departed. The titular role called for far more range. - Michelle
THE FINAL VERDICT: It may knock out the competition in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories, but in terms of the Best Picture race, it will most likely be seen as too much of a lightweight.
Check our Michelle's original review here! And check in tomorrow for more Oscar buzz!

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