Directed By: David O. Russell
Written By: Scott Sliver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Keith Dorrington
Amber brought this movie home from a trip to Wal-Mart a couple of days ago and I was glad to see she had picked it up. We watched this movie when it became available a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. It clearly belonged in the collection and it was only the matter of time waiting for the price to be reasonable enough for purchase. Amber found it in the $5.00 bin and I will say that the movie is much too new to be marked down that much but can’t argue with the opportunity.
This movie surprised me in many ways, as boxing movies often do. I think boxing movies are great and I have written why several times now. They all follow such a similar story line yet usually manage to bring something new to the table. This movie is as much about drug addiction as it is about boxing but the two are blended together in a great way that gives the film a clear direction. I am unfamiliar with most professional boxers and knew of neither Micky Ward or Dicky Ekland before watching the movie. I don’t know how accurate their portrayal is in the movie but given they were both involved with the making of the film I think it’s a safe bet it got their stamp of approval.
Of course the strength of this film comes from the performances of the cast. Christian Bale is absolutely incredible in this movie and it is probably his finest role. Bale won the Academy Award for his role in the movie and it doesn’t take long to see why. Something about the look he has in his eyes all throughout the film says it all. I am a big fan of Bale and continue to be impressed with the performances he gives. I despise Mark Wahlberg but he continues to make good films. He is well cast in this movie and does a good job but he is the weakest link of the cast. He plays a character in this movie that is so much like a victim at the mercy of his overbearing family. For more about why I don’t like Wahlberg you should see our review of The Departed. It has nothing to do with his talent but only the person he was before hitting it big. I think Amy Adams is a terrific actress and she was robbed of the Academy Award for her role in this movie. She is a beautiful actress and as an awesome perk you can see her in a great scene in this one where she is wearing see through undies. Her accent in this movie was great and she had a look of a real hometown local. Her diversity as an actress continues to be impressive and I look forward to what else she has to offer. This summer we will be able to see her playing the part of Lois Lane in the new Superman movie. I have never seen Melissa Leo before but she was incredible in this movie playing the tough and no-nonsense mother. She rules her family with an iron hand and intimidates the hell out of everyone. I also want to mention Jack McGee because I think he is awesome. I was a big fan of his character in Rescue Me, and I have enjoyed many of his roles in film.
David O. Russell directed this movie and although he doesn’t have a large body of work under his belt he has plenty of success to back himself up. He hit it big this year with Silver Linings Playbook being nominated again for Best Director but not winning. He was also nominated for this film but lost like many did to The King’s Speech which I didn’t think was that impressive. The only other movie I know by Russell was Three Kings and I have always like that one as well. I look forward to seeing Silver Linings Playbook when the opportunity comes and I’m confident it will be great because it was made by such a good director.
This is a movie that follows two themes that are usually always redundant but it manages to set itself apart nevertheless. Movies about drug abuse and boxing always tend to follow the same patterns but not in this one. We see the damage drugs can do to a person’s life and the lives of those who care about the person while also following the inspiring struggle that boxers go through. The struggles in this movie also extend to the family and how they affect Micky Ward in his effort to make something of himself. Movies about struggles like this always have something to teach us and give us a chance to learn from the experiences and enhance our own lives. Not everybody sees movies like this but I always have and try my best to learn from the experience.
There is apparently a sequel for this movie in the works that will follow the next stage of Micky Ward’s career and I think there is a lot of potential there. You don’t often see sequels to movies made based on a true story but I think it’s a good idea in this case. If we learned anything from the Rocky franchise it’s that the audience is more than willing to see a boxer glove up and do it again, and again, and again. So I hope the sequel to this is made and look forward to seeing what happens. This movie is good enough for a sequel I think. This movie is more than worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.