They say the more movies you watch the more you’ll love drama. People call drama boring, farmers of Leyte call these movies full of Holy Rosary “Nag-rosaryo na pud”. Personally I love drama and I absolutely agree that dramas are lovable as your movie collection files up. I’ve been doing movie marathon the past three years (even during the crucial days of board review) and I still can’t get enough of this genre. I can’t even rid myself of them because they are found in every type of films: war, crime, romance, biopic, sci-fi, road, slasher, musical, period and sports films. The past year the drama scene has never been so blessed with such a great line-up . And my pick goes to the sports drama The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams.
The Fighter tells the story of real life boxer ‘Irish’ Micky Ward and his struggle towards greatness (i.e. a bitchy mother for his manager and an irresponsible crack addict brother for his trainer). He was a mediocre boxer with a devastating left hook during his earlier years of boxing handled by Team Ward – his dysfunctional family. Yes, he used to take serious beating from bouts with mismatched weight difference and the general lack of training thanks to his brother Dick “Dicky” Eklund , the guy who knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard back in ’78. Dicky, though a good trainer has cost Ward much trouble in and out of the ring than helping him because of his drug addiction and misdemeanor until he was sent to prison. Micky Ward, now trainer-less with a serious hand injury, began his descent from life and a long hiatus in boxing. Thus the story progressed into a poignant character-driven narrative. And so we have now a good guy badly beaten up and a real loser in life. End of the 1st part of the story.
The next part is a tale of redemption not only for Ward, but also for his brother. Thus begins the overused Hollywood sports drama cliché where our hero gets the second chance to get back to his feet and complete the underdog story. But one more sentence deeper into the plot and I am likely to spoil you, my readers. But anyways some might still remember Micky Ward as one of the great boxers of the late 90’s – the same guy who waged war with the late Arturo Gatti in three wild fights of the year – one of the greatest Trilogy in boxing history (don’t worry the movie omits these part). But they sure left that most unlikely knockout of all time for the audience to wonder. Trust me this is a great film.
Mark Wahlberg portrayed the titular role of Mickey Ward along side with Batman star Christian Bale and Amy Adams, the Enchanted singing princess. Wahlberg, a friend of Manny Pacquiao, trained at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles to prepare for the film. Christian Bale once again transformed himself into a walking skeleton (he was worse in The Machinist) to portray the malnourished-looking Dicky and delivered his best performance to date to steal the show. Geeks will probably assassinate the jurors if he doesn’t win the Oscar Best Supporting Actor trophy next month.
Director David O. Russell has taken the audience into a strange poignant imagery of a boxer dissecting Ward’s every goddamn pain, disappointment and failures in a ‘slowly but surely’ character driven fashion. The film is so compelling it felt like I was inside the screen watching the scene in real-time. And to add authenticity to the film the filmmakers used actual footages in some of the films fight scenes and interviews. They used pay-per-view cameras for the fight scenes to replicate the ringside viewing experience.
There have been great boxing films from the past like Stallone’s Rocky films, Robert de Niro’s Raging Bull, and Russell Crowe’s Cinderella Man just to name a few. Surely The Fighter will join their ranks in no time. It’s a towering reminder that great movies does not need to have loudest gunfire or the most advance CGI because sometimes people just wanted a tale of simple treat of a warm piece of life. That is what dramas are all about.