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RANT: Today's trip to the movie house supports my theory that human nature is only half bad. On the bad side is the guy that keeps his phone on, gets a call, then takes the call in the theater itself. On the good side, a woman sitting two seats down from the phone call guy told him to take the call outside the theater. On the bad side, the same guy started talking louder on the phone when he was standing in the entry corridor. And on the good side, the same woman followed the phone call guy and told him that the entire theater can still hear his conversation. Hurray for making a stand for the greater good against the tyranny of rudeness.
SYNOPSIS: A small town fighter tries for a title shot, walking in the footsteps of his big brother.
Director Davis O. Russell, best known for I Heart Huckabees and Three Kings, brings the "based on a true" story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his trainer/big brother Dicky Eklund to the screen. The story revolves around Micky's early career as he attempts a run at a welterweight title. A somewhat passion project for Mark Wahlberg, he plays "Irish" Micky Ward. Joining him is Christian Bale as his brother from another father, playing Dicky Eklund.
Running into a series of losses due to poorly planned boxing matches by his brother and manager/mother Alice Ward (Melissa Leo), Micky finds himself on the verge of quitting. While his brother has trained him from the beginning, Dicky has spiraled into a destructive habit of crack smoking, run-ins with the law and irresponsibility to Micky's career. Contemplating quitting, Micky takes up with bartender Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams) who helps Micky find his confidence to return to the ring. Torn between loyalty to his family and the success of his career, Micky painfully decides to break away to be managed by a local business man, his father George (Jack McGee), and trained by Lowell Police Department sergeant Mickey O'Keefe (playing himself). Finally putting together a string of wins, Micky finds himself the contender for the welterweight title in London.
The movie is more then about mere fighting inside the ring. "Irish" Micky Ward is a struggling boxer, fighting to live up to the shadow of the limited success of his brother. Dicky fought and knocked down "Sugar" Ray Leonard, and since has fought the habits of drinking, drugs and civil disobedience. Dicky and Micky's mother Alice fights against the knowledge of what Dicky has done to himself and fights against the certainty that Dicky will never make a comeback to the ring, thereby living vicariously through Micky to realize the dream of the failed title shot for Dicky years before.
Mark Wahlberg picks a great film and a great role. His performance as Micky, though, is almost secondary to the method that Christian Bale brings to the role of Dicky. And Amy Adams sinks her teeth into the role of Charlene in such a raw manner that Enchanted seems like a fairy tale. If one of them doesn't get a best supporting nod by the end of the awards season, I would be surprised. The rest of the cast is stellar, allowing us to laugh, cry and feel the pain and drama that the citizens of Lowell felt.
Worth: Matinee and DVD