The Fighter
2010
***
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Frank Renzulli, Erica McDermott, Sugar Ray Leonard

David O. Russell’s real-life story about two working class brothers from Lowell, Massachusetts mixes sports movie clichés and kitchen sink realism into an entertaining whole. Micky is a promising welterweight boxer whose overbearing family seems to stand in the way of greatness. His older brother Dicky is a fighter turned crack addict who lives in his past glories. The boxing half of the story treads a very familiar path from a humiliating defeat to a glorious win. The family drama, on the other hand, is refreshingly gritty. The boys’ obnoxious mother and sisters are presented with warts and all. Mark Wahlberg plays it down, but Christian Bale and Melissa Leo give Big performances, which predictably earned them both Academy Awards.