Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
This post contains SPOILERS for the final scene of The Fighter. If you haven’t seen the movie but plan to (and we suggest you do), you probably should bookmark and come back watch this later.
From Raging Bull to The Hurricane and Ali, boxing movies always tend to over dramatize the sport. They sort of have to because, by nature, boxing is usually a slow, cerebral back and forth with only moments of intense explosion. Fictional stories, like Rocky or The Champ, can get away with the over-the-top action but the non-fiction films have a smaller margin for error because the real fights are out there. For years, filmmakers have been getting away with dialing up the action but, in 2011, things aren’t as easy.
In today’s digital world, with home editing equipment and YouTube so prevalent, non-fiction movies better be on guard. For example, YouTube user Kevin E. Lee did some impressive editing to both praise and shun David O. Russell‘s Oscar-contender The Fighter for its accuracies and inaccuracies during the climactic fight that pits Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, against Shea Neary (Anthony Molinari). This video blew my mind. You’ve got to check it out.
Thanks to Rope of Silicon for finding this gem of a video.
I’m not sure what’s more incredible, the ways that the film takes poetic license or the way it messes up facts that seem so insignificant, like the records and the weights. I don’t begrudge the film for a little over dramatization. The intensification of the drama between Micky and Dicky (Christian Bale) makes sense because that relationship is at the heart of a larger story. The same can be said for their mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), being at the fight. And the rerecording of the original HBO audio was a true stroke of brilliance, especially for someone whose watched a lot of boxing in the past. But it just seems a little sloppy that the other, smaller details, were messed up.
Having originally seen it in November, I recently re-watched The Fighter and really liked it more the second time. Going into it not expecting a pure boxing movie was a much more rewarding experience. And maybe that’s why the final fight ended up the way it did. The family is more important than the boxing.
What are your thoughts on this video? Does it make you think any differently of The Fighter? Maybe it even makes you like it more?