Christian Bale may be a grumpy bastard who takes himself too seriously but on screen he can be astonishingly good.
Reminding us of his talents, the actor completely owns The Fighter, a riveting sports flick based on the life of indomitable boxer Micky Ward.
We catch up with the pugilist (played by Wahlberg) in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts at a time when his career has stalled.
With time running out for him to make a mark, Ward is being mismanaged by his mother Alice (Melissa Leo) and poorly trained by brother Dicky (Bale), a former boxer living off past glories. When Dicky’s crack addiction lands him in prison, Micky has to decide whether to listen to new girlfriend Charlene (Adams) and put his ambitions ahead of his crazy family.
Despite the fact that director David O Russell works his way through the big book of sports movie clichés, The Fighter is still a superior drama thanks to uniformly brilliant performances.
Wahlberg anchors the film with a strong, subdued turn and Adams is just the right balance of trash and tenderness. But it’s Bale’s blazing performance that really impresses and makes him a real contender for an Oscar this year.
Good for: Those looking for this generation’s Rocky.
Watch The Fighter trailer here.
Pierre de Villiers