Watched it again after forgetting I'd actually seen it before. Not usually a fan of boxing films but the acting in this is great, especially from Bale. Very interesting look into white trash America, with some neat comedic moments. Shame a lot of the events are fictionalised in favour of a rather cliché plot.
Boxing...again, Bales gurning, grandstanding screen hogging performance render the thing unwatchable on its own, but when you add the lazy direction cliched cinematography and dreadful script,the pretentious mix of non actors, patronising attitude to the working class etc to a script so cliched the acting of the supporting cast was doomed from the beginning I lost the will to live, classic new Hollywood crap.
You usually expect something quirky with David O Russell films, some unexpected jerk on the shift stick, a twist in the genre game. Here is a straight, conventional sports film, totally without irony (did he really direct this?) and the strengths of it are in performance,powerful music and focussed pacing,with great casting (family background, even Christian Bale,reigned -in . Wow). And Wahlberg lets others shine.
Based on a true story, this David O. Russell movie may work with material that will feel very familiar to anyone who has ever seen a sports underdog movie before, with the added family drama helping to bulk it out to almost two hours, but it's eminently watchable, and features great performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams.
Christian Bale gives one of his finest performances in a career full of excellent work. I've never been a fan of David O. Russell, having found Silver Linings overrated, and American Hustle disastrous, among others, but the cinematography, storytelling, and deft mix of character study and sincere human comedy in the face of tragedy tell an effective story. Wahlberg isn't bad either. This is the Russell people laud.