A fighting chance

Last night, we ate jambalaya and watched a movie. Can you imagine a better mid-week treat?

I was hesitant about the Philosopher’s choice: The Fighter. While I have a reasonably high tolerance for epic sport flicks (they always have happy endings!), I had a feeling it would be difficult to watch. Boxing makes me cringe, and I wasn’t too sure all would end well this time. I usually deal with intense movies by pacing or washing dishes to drown out that screaming anxiety which a truly heart-wrenching scene can induce in a body. More usually than that, I try to avoid these kinds of films altogether.

So, fingernails poised for biting, I prepared for the worst with a mug of Ben and Jerry’s.

Surprise! The movie was over before a single nail was harmed. Though a few kidneys did get punched.

I loved it.

So what if Christian Bale has played the same character before? It’s a jaw-dropping one. And then there’s the fact that Marky Mark Wahlberg never really acts, but seems simply to walk onto each set with his chisled muscles and clenched jaw firmly in hand… But are we really complaining about having to endure his physique?!

In all seriousness, between the excellent acting and subtle but strong sense of authenticity, the pacing was what won me in the end. I am fairly sensitive to awkwardly arranged shots, mismatched lengths of scene, or jarring passings of time; poor pacing will undermine the most commanding of performances by yanking the viewer in and out of the action. A well-paced film, on the other hand, swallows you up until the very end when it either spits you out or gently floats you away from the action.  The Fighter sort of did both, and did both well.

You should grab a friend and rent it. And then tell me what you think. Just be prepared for that grating Boston whine!


6 thoughts on “A fighting chance

  1. i saw it in the theaters. the boxing was pretty intense. i’m surprised you weren’t as taken aback.

    if you liked this movie, you (might) really like WARRIOR. i don’t know if it’s out on video yet, but i liked it a lot more than The Fighter. but i have a feeling that Peter would disagree.

  2. I haven’t seen Warrior, so I can’t say, and I did hear it was pretty good, but I have a feeling that JC likes it better than the Fighter because at heart he is a big karate/ninja nerd and so thinks mixed martial arts is super cool, while boxing is only a little bit cool.

  3. haha. that’s so funny. at first i thought kassie was talking about Naruto. but then i remembered how many times we played crazy ninja. alot (misspelled on purpose in reference to peter’s childhood journal). thanks for remembering me, guys, as a crazy ninja. it means really means alot to me.

    but i think peter would like The Fighter better than WARRIOR, because the former is more of a drama, while the latter is more of a Rocky-esque movie. one is serious and the other is fun.

    peter’s idea of a fun movie, however, is one that he can make fun of the whole way through. but maybe that’s just his way of getting away with watching movies he secretly likes? but who can blame him for liking the sisterhood of traveling pants, etc.?

    and until i met peter, i hated it when people talked during a movie. now i can’t stop.

  4. to further my case:

    on rotten tomatoes the fighter got 91% from critics and 88% from the audience. WARRIOR got 83% from the critics and 93% from the audience.

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