I suppose it is inevitable that The Fighter will be compared to Rocky. Only Rocky Balboa was a fictional character, and Irish Micky Ward was real. But from my perspective, this was no Rocky wanna-be. In truth, this wasn’t a Raging Bull wanna-be either. Those films were 180 degrees apart, more on that later.
The Fighter has elements of both, but Director David O. Russell has taken steps that will place this film in neither of those camps. Mark Wahlberg portrays Micky Ward, and going in, I expected him to carry the film. But this is not the case.
In fact, despite Walhberg’s lead billing, he underplays his role, and clearly gives his co-stars an opportunity to shine, and for sure, they do, as the best performances are theirs. While the film will not win a Best Picture Oscar, we just might see a Big O awarded to one or two of the cast.