Directed by David O. Russell
Run Time: 115 mins
Genre: Biography/ Drama/ Sport
4 frames out of 5
Sometimes, family and business just don’t mix.
Based on the true story of boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his relationship with his manager/trainer, half-brother, ex-boxer Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) and his rise and fall in the world of boxing.
Mickey has always looked up to his older brother Dicky and he’s the reason why Mickey got involved in the sport. Dicky did pretty well, even fighting Sugar Ray Leonard, until he fell into drugs and crime landing him in out and out of jail. HBO even filmed a documentary on Dickey, “Crack in America”***. Instead of chronicling his boxing comeback, it features his drug use and the effects of how drugs destroy lives.
Dicky and the boys’ mother Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) have been managing Mickey’s career and so far it’s not been getting him too far, except beaten to a pulp in the more recent fights. Mickey is seriously considering leaving the sport until he meets Charlene (Amy Adams).
Charlene helps Mickey own up to the fact that Dicky, his mother and family are doing nothing for his career but bring him down. Mickey must cut contact with his family if he is to continue to have a career in boxing, a relationship with his daughter and Charlene. Will Mickey be able to regain and elevate his status in the boxing world without Dicky’s presence? Will Mickey and Dicky be able to repair their relationship and lead better lives?
Of all the boxing films that have been throughout the years, this film stands out on it’s own as it doesn’t focus on the sport as in much as the dynamic and relationships that surround the fighter. Based on a true story, Director David Russell does an excellent job of translating the biography for page to screen. Christian Bale does a complete transformation and truly becomes the washed up, stung out meth head that is Dick Eklund. His physical appearance is astonishing which makes the role that much more of a knock out. Mark Walhberg, kudos to him, as his role is the most physical but acting skills were only so-so. The women that played the sisters were a hoot to watch and seeing the dynamic of the mother Alice Leo/ Melissa Leo interact with the divine Amy Adams was so Jerry Spring…. Loved it. Amy Adams truly broke out of her shell to play a tough talking, ballsy broad and it worked so well.
Things to watch for: Phenomenal performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. The crazy sisters.
Who should see this movie: Fans of Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo; Fans of Boxing movies
See it in the Theater or Rent it on DVD: To catch up on the award shows, go se it in the theaters.
*** The actual HBO documentary name feature Dickey Eklund is called “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell “(1995)