The Fighter 2010 ★★★★½

Christian Bale really amazes me. Not because of his acting talent, but how he can just constantly lose and gain weight day in day out. He's so skinny it's scary in The Machinist, then he's buffed out for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, then he basically looks like a crackhead in this film and then bulks right back up for The Dark Knight Rises. It's un-friggin-believable.

Christian Bale does a fantastic job (probably not his most Oscar worthy turn though) but while everyone says he steals the show, I think Mark Whalberg proved just why this is his show. He displays the right levels of emotion at the right times, he's captivating, stood out the most despite such a strong cast, and is so excellent that he gives what should have been an Oscar worthy performance. You also get terrific supporting turns from Amy Adams and especially Melissa Leo. The story is strong and powerful. The boxing scenes are pretty solid in my book. Great soundtrack. Just a solid biopic that really showcases how terrific it's cast is.


  • Bale was easily the weakest part of the film. Whalberg, Adams, and Leo were great, but Bale's over-acting of an aloof moron with a come-and-go accent stood out in a bad way.

  • Except the real brother actually acted exactly like Bale did.

  • I know. It's Bale who was incapable of acting in a way that didn't draw attention to the fact that he was desperately trying to mimic the real guy. He couldn't disappear in the role. It was all just surface imitation.

  • Well, when you act in a biopic you basically are mimicking a real life person and I think Bale did a great job in the role and from the interviews I saw with the real guy, Bale acted exactly like him. He may have not been Oscar worthy in my opinion and Whalberg, Adams, and Leo were certainly better, but I think Bale did a fine job with the role.

  • I further disagree, Ryan, and my main attention goes to the point you listed about Bale drawing attention to the fact that he's mimicking a real person. I feel this is actually what worked with his performance because, after all, Eklund was a real attention whore. It's practically what he thrived on. He wanted to be the center of attention, but he also wanted other things (drugs and money) that brought him down.

    I feel that the absolute worst part about Bale's performance, isn't really his performance, but rather the character he's playing. He's not really a three dimensional guy. There's little to no depth to him. Most of his depth in fact comes from his relationship with his brother Micky, and when he realizes that Micky has the better heart (and is thereby the better Fighter), he seeks out to help him on his brother's road to legendary boxing history.

    To me, Bale didn't stand out, he disappeared into the role. Half the time I wasn't really sure I was watching people acting. But I think that displays how good the acting was from everyone in the film.

  • Joe: True, but I felt Truman Capote, not PHS. I felt Ray Charles, not Jamie Foxx, I felt Johnny Cash, not J. Phoenix.

    Here, I felt Bale *trying* to act. That's not good.

  • @Ryan I completely agree with Cinebro. I understand Bale may seem like an attention whore in this, but Eklund was basically an attention whore himself so in that sense, Bale lived and breathed Dickie Eklund. Kinda like Gere in Breatheless. Gere may seem like an idiot, but that's because his character is in over his head; he imitates what he likes and wants to be a show off which would mean Gere would have to show off in the role; like Bale did in The Fighter. He lost himself in the role and walked out with me believing I saw Eklund on screen. He was'nt as Oscar worthy as PHS in Capote or Foxx in Ray, but he made me believe I was watching Dickie Eklund. Maybe I should rewatch this again (I've already seen it twice) to see if the performance has the same effect on me, but I thought he was good.

  • Nice review.

    Which would be, in your, Bale's best performance?

  • Thanks.

    That's kinda tough. Deep down in my cynical heart, I wanna say American Psycho but then I remember him in The Machinist and then him in 3:10 to Yuma. It's between those 3.

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