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!