Blu-ray widescreen and DVD widescreen, 2010, R for language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality
Best extra: “The Warrior’s Code: Filming ‘The Fighter,’” a 30-minute making-of documentary (HD).
MARK WAHLBERG’S passion project about boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his crackhead half-brother, Dicky, was originally set to film with Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) at the helm. Yet it was David O. Russell who took over. Having directed Wahlberg in “Three Kings” and “I Heart Huckabees,” he gives “The Fighter” an unexpected boost of humor and pathos. He also delivers the best boxing movie since Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” and Stallone’s Oscar winner, “Rocky.”
Wahlberg, who didn’t want to rely on editing and choreography to sell himself as a champion, trained four years to become a boxer. Still, it’s Christian Bale as Dicky, and Melissa Leo as their chain-smoking mother, who steal the show and the Oscars for their roles as supporting characters. The movie was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. As Steven Spielberg said at the ceremony, that puts “The Fighter” in the ranks of “Citizen Kane” and “On the Waterfront.”
The fight scenes appear to have been shot in HD video with an intentionally flat look, although the rest of the film looks stunning in hi-def. Detail is extraordinary, from the texture of clothing to the beads of sweat on Wahlberg’s brow; a sheen of film grain is always present. The DTS-HD soundtrack delivers a knockout, tool. It’s a stunner during the fight scenes and is also impressive in the family fight scenes which include a lot of overlapping dialogue.
The Blu-ray comes with a DVD and Digital Copy. A nice selection of supplemental material includes a “making-of” that follows the production on the streets of Lowell, Mass., and plenty of footage of the real-life brothers interacting with their on-screen counterparts. Also find a commentary with Russell, who talks about how he, Wahlberg and the rest of his team worked to make “The Fighter” as real as possible, utilizing location shots and even the real people in some cases to lend authenticity to the story. More than a half-dozen HD deleted scenes are included, featuring more inspired moments from Bale. There’s a brief discussion with the Ward family, talking enthusiastically about Micky and Dicky’s boxing careers, and life in the ring.
“The Fighter” was one of the best films of 2010 and is highly recommended for purchase.
— Josh Boone