The Fighter (2010)
Brief review: "The Fighter" centers on the life of professional boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his older half-brother - a former boxer who suffers from drug abuse. Taking a tired subject matter and making it as compelling as it possibly can is a hard thing to do, but director David O. Russell manages to achieve exactly that. His latest effort, "The Fighter" offers a wonderfully-crafted and thoroughly complex less-about-boxing-and-more-about-family story, filled with multi-layered characters with human flaws and frailties, which evolve vastly as the movie progresses. In fact, aside from the slightly cliched ending, "The Fighter" is pretty much the perfect boxing movie. "The Fighter" is also technically-brilliant, with its pitch-perfect editing, David O. Russell's diverse direction, and the intentionally rough, grainy and unpolished, yet stunning cinematography. However, the most impressive and notable thing about this film is the exceptional performances delivered by the best ensemble cast of the year. Mark Wahlberg plays the central character in the movie, and he delivers a very confident and solid performance. Christian Bale is sure to win an Oscar for his fantastic supporting performance as the troubled brother, Dicky. He just blows everyone else out of the water! Melisa Leo plays the tough, 'money-obsessed' mother and manager of Micky, and she delivers the second-best performance in "The Fighter". Amy Adams shines as well, as she gives a very convincing performance as Charlene.
Overall summary: With its enormously gripping story, utterly compelling characters and top-notch direction by David O. Russell, "The Fighter" is undoubtedly one of this year's very best films, and also a serious contender for next year's Oscars.