Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti had three memorable fights, fights that will go down in history. Gatti; from Montreal, and Ward from Lowell Massachusetts. Two warriors that never gave up, that had tremendous heart, that punished each other with their fists, that sent each other to hospital.
The Fighter is the story of one of those warriors; Irish Micky Ward. It is also about his brother, his trainer Dicky Eklund, who once went ten rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard and knocked the hall of famer down, on route to a loss.
The Fighter is a realistic, no punches pulled, round by round account of Ward's family life, his brother's struggle with drugs and subsequent imprisonment and his soul mate Charlene.
Every one battles in this film but there is a great love there.
A viewer might wonder how everyone can be fighting and still love each other. Watch the youtube fights of Gatti and Ward. After two of their three fights both fighters were in the trauma ward, yet they when the bell sounds to end each and every fight, they hug each other like long lost brothers. Brothers in arms. Watching the film I was hoping to see Ward and Gatti fight, but alas, it was not to be.
Mark Whalberg plays the taciturn Micky and Christian Bale plays his flaky brother, tortured by lost potential and crack abuse. His performance is brilliant. Melissa Leo is the tough-talking matriarch of the family, and Amy Adams plays Charlene, a match for Leo's character; Alice and a match for Ward. She later became Micky Ward's wife.
The Fighter is a gritty look at life in bars, crack houses, boxing gyms and low income lives.
Arturo Gatti casts a shadow on this film because Ward is remembered for those fights more than anything else. Gatti had a tumultuous personal life which ended with his murder.
As the fights in the film demonstrate, when your skills desert you in the later rounds, due to the beating you have taken, do you have the heart and the will to win. Micky Ward would not back down. The heart of a lion. A will of iron.
This is no black and white film, no right and wrong, it is black and blue in its look at family, at love, and of course at life in the ring.