It is 2011, but The Fighter is currently duking it out with The Social Network for my favorite film of 2010. That may give you a clue into how I felt about this movie as a whole. See a previous post as to why I was slacking on going to the theatre. I also have to see True Grit (and hopefully 127 Hours).
I'm not even sure where to begin - the acting, the authenticity, the direction, the cinematography, the musical choices (and cues) and the majority of the fight scenes.
The acting. Christian Bale steals the show as crack-addicted, former pride of Lowell, MA Dicky Eklund. I'm sure you've heard the praise being heaped upon him, and it is all deserved. He may have even been on crack for the part. If you have been to after hours, you can spot a crackhead. Just as good is Mark Wahlberg, who seems custom made to play Micky Ward; the quiet, in-the-shadow younger half-brother of Dicky. Amy Adams felt like she just came off a street in Lowell... and the cast all-around was pretty spot-on. Melissa Leo was good, although a bit over-the-top as the boy's overprotective manager/mother.
If I had one complaint it's that they constantly hit us over the head with the 'I knocked down Sugar Ray' lines about Dicky... or the fact that Alice (the mother) loved Dicky more. We got it.
The movie was more about this fighter's struggle with wanting to continue fighting, and the forces in his life that were pulling him apart - and less about the man himself. Which was fine by me, I'm a huge fight fan. By the end of the film, during his fight with Neery for the championship I was so invested in the characters and story I wanted to jump out of my seat cheering a few times.
The fight scenes themselves were pretty great. David O. Russell decided to shoot them as they were shot in the 80's for ESPN and HBO - and to great effect. It added to the authenticity. There were some punch close-ups that were lame, but that is a small, nitpicking complaint.
Overall, this movie rocked and I still can't decide if this was my favorite film of 2010 - or The Social Network.