Tag Archives: bale

Nolan Month (Reprise) – ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)

"DEAD OR ALIVE.. YOU'RE COMING WITH ME"

Cast:-

Christian Bale

Gary Oldman

Liam Neeson

Katie Holmes

Michael Caine

Morgan Freeman

Cillian Murphy

In a new millennium where superhero films had become predictable, unrealistic and downright insulting – Chris Nolan creates a new twist on an already compelling, and intricate character of The Batman. Adapted from several of The Dark Knight’s most notable appearances by scribe David Goyer, Batman Begins is a reimagining that has set the bar for nearly every comic book/graphic novel to date since its release in 2005.

Obviously, the most striking difference between this film, and the last entry into the Batman franchise – Joel Schumacher’s nipple-tweaking ‘Batman & Robin’. Is that it’s essentially a superhero film with a realism and humanity never seen before. Complimented with the backdrop of a bustling metropolis (no, not that one) that is suffering from one the worst crime waves in recent history – though without necessarily shying away from the general aesthetics of a superhero movie. Truly fitting for a character repertoire of Batman, and the legend of Gotham.

The story centres of course on Bruce Wayne (Bale), self-exiled in Bhutan after the death of his parents (sorry, but everyone knows…) – searching for a means to avenge their death and fight injustice, while finding his place in the world. He is approached by Liam Neeson’s ‘Ducard’, a member of a ninja sect known as the League of Shadows . Thus begins his journey… The location shooting in this picture is simply stunning and breathtaking – utilising the Icelandic mountains as a stand-in for Bhutan, Nolan and Pfister push the boundaries and find a scale that is worthy of such a larger than life character. A perception of ambiguity on first impression perhaps.. But you hardly expect to see Bruce Wayne jumping off of the top of a mountain…

With Gotham City itself, the main setting for the film. It’s a city of cities – akin to the likes of New York City and London in terms of its architecture and streets. A far cry from the spooky, ‘eerieness’ of Burton’s Gotham. Giving Batman Begins a grounded, more personally relatable backdrop. As you would initially believe from the title – the narrative follows Bruce Wayne as he begins his journey to become the vigilante ‘Batman’. The first time we have ever seen the origins of the character on the silver screen. Drawing heavily on seminal works such as Year One, Christian Bale as Wayne is as convincing as you can imagine. Bale’s previous dramatic work – the most recent to the time of production being ‘The Machinist’, lends him a huge hand in effectively capturing the torn billionaire.

Deeply affected by the shocking death of his family, and later the killing of their murderer – Bale’s expressions in these particular areas of the movie suggest a deep nuance and affinity with the character. He’s a man broken, but seeks the means and reason to fight back. As Batman, the difference is chalk and cheese. Truly haunting, physically imposing, and a menacing presence – Batman is at his most darkest ever, let alone his most brutal. Bale, delivers an astounding performance.

Without noting on all support, these are the more standout shows for the film. A bit rough around the edges – Liam Neeson, is relatively solid and gives an almost token turn as Ducard. The driving force behind Bruce Wayne’s ascension to his destiny as Gotham’s saviour, and though not physically powerful, he cunningly exploits the darkest parts of Wayne’s soul during his training in the mountains. Fuelling him with a rage and determination to see injustice undone. Subsequently, Ducard is more than what he seems – And in the movie’s 3rd act, becomes a wedge between Batman and the protection of Gotham City. Certainly not a huge feather in the cap for the Irish Oscar winner, but rather maintains his status as one of Britain’s most important exports in the slightest of all manners.

Batman is no short of allies. Nolan vet, Michael Caine is the dedicated butler, Alfred. Not only acting as Batman’s closest confidant, but also a father figure for the orphan. Offering sound advice through subtle sarcasm all the way to harsh home truths. It’s a definitive portrayal of the character, and certainly one of key castings. Caine is bloody great. And his chemistry with Bale is fluid and does not slack at any point. Further adding the acting masterclass is everyone’s favourite voice, Morgan Freeman. As Batman’s armourer in the R&D section of Wayne Enterprises, Freeman’s significance in the film as a whole is redundant, save for the few scenes he is in. Though it is a safe, sound and justified casting decision with the performance given. The pivotal support is supplied by Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon – a perfect casting and a real empathy-laden turn. Gordon’s side story of his progression through conspiracy and oppression within the ranks of the GCPD is a fitting accoutrement to the main narrative. One of Oldman’s better performances in recent memory.

Nolan’s vision was to bring the character back to reality. With the minimal use of CGI, and the relying on miniatures for action pieces. Executed beautifully by the effects team is the film’s finale, the climactic tussle between Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul aboard the Gotham Monorail. The fight scenes are abundant as you would imagine throughout the film’s entirety, introducing a close-combat fighting style practiced by Bale himself, popularised around the time of production. Meriting the character of Batman, his physical strength and reputation for taking down bad guys by the numbers. Many of these scenes showcasing a flowing, fast-paced method of combat. It’s awesome to watch with the complex and expertly timed editing of shooting.

In closing, though not perfectly cast and arguably clunky from a story point of view in a very minimal scale… This film is brilliantly written and directed impeccably. It’s a testament to Nolan’s rising star in Hollywood. A must-see.

8.5/10 


Nolan Month – ‘The Prestige’ (2006)

"Alwight mate?!"

Cast:-

*Christian Bale

*Hugh Jackman

*Michael Caine

*Scarlett Johansson

*Rebecca Hall

*Andy Serkis

*Ziggy

In 2006, Christopher Nolan brought us one of his most engaging films to date. ‘The Prestige’. A thriller following a back and forth rivalry between two magicians. A rivalry that at first begins as a friendly competition of one-upmanship, but later implodes into deceit, sabotage and murder.

The film, with its Victorian setting, stars Christian Bale as Alfred Borden, a young magician with a cheeky chappy persona that embraces the art of illusion and desires to fully mastering it. His counterpart, Robert Angier – played by Hugh Jackman, is a far more aristocratic, refined showman who rather goes by the book and often questions Borden’s ideas and methods. Michael Caine, a Nolan mainstay, portrays Cutter – inventor of the illusions and tricks, is also a mentor almost for the two aspiring illusionists. As with Nolan’s breakout movie, Memento, The Prestige is presented through a series of flashbacks after we open to see Borden stand trial for the murder of Angier. Chronicling the characters from their initial duties as stage ringers for another magician, leading to a tragic accident and progressing through flashbacks from the points of view of both Angier and Borden.

As the film progresses, the two leads are at constant odds, one concealing a secret behind the greatest trick he has ever performed whilst keeping his rival at arm’s length, and the other desperately and obsessively scavenging for the key to unlocking the great mystery. Bale and Jackman are on perfect pitch with their respective characters – with the X-Men stalwart breaking out of his almost typecast mould and delivering a very convincing, thorough performance. He exudes Angier’s frustration with a realism I was always adamant we would never see on-screen. But he truly delivers an encompassing character performance. Christian Bale completely nails it once again, showing he is one of Britain’s most treasured exports. Borden’s charismatic defiance against Angier, his overly strained relationships with his wife (Rebecca Hall) and mistress/assistant (Scarlett Johansson)  – in conjunction with his devotion to magic are the stand-out aspects  of the entire movie. Another particular favourite sequence is at the film’s climax – where we finally find out Borden’s secret. That is of course if you haven’t already guessed.

The direction, scene setting and imagery adopts some gothic overtones that allude to the darker themes of the story, such as Angier’s lifelong obsession with Borden’s secret. Additionally, sequences involving David Bowie as Nikola Tesla, and Andy Serkis as his assistant Alley, also depart from the central themes and promote a looming sense of discomfort with the viewer. It’s a subtle, but welcome shift.

The support is adequate, at best good from certain individuals. Though with relatively small screen time, I was very impressed with Rebecca Hall as Sarah Borden – who demonstrates some real potential prowess. Michael Caine is suitably class as ever, bridging comfortably as the voice of reason between the leads. Though we never know fully if he has an allegiance with either, or his own trick up his sleeve. There are some clunky efforts – notably from Scarlett Johansson and Andy Serkis, but it’s not enough to seriously tarnish. Johansson seems to have her head in the clouds during most of her dialogue while gawping like a schoolgirl in front of Christian Bale. And Serkis (complete with generic American accent), with his kind of Igor-ish role opposite a silly appearance from music icon David Bowie, is more wasted than anything based on the character itself rather than his ability.

As previously stated, Nolan applies a similar narrative to The Prestige as he did with Memento – but there’s a striking difference. This film IS Nolan’s greatest performance, it’s his masterful illusion. As Michael Caine’s closing lines say – referring to the details of a magic trick - “Every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts. The first part is called the pledge, the magician shows you something ordinary. The second act is called the turn, the magician takes the ordinary something and makes it into something extraordinary. But you wouldn’t clap yet, because making something disappear isn’t enough. You have to bring it back…”

And that is The Prestige in a nutshell.

Cliches and metaphors aside. This is perhaps one of Nolan’s most ambitious pieces of work – but pays off and then some. It’s an ingenious, original, engrossing thriller that will most certainly stand tall against all comers.

9/10


‘New Release Nonsense’

"CAROL AAANNNE - DON'T STEP INTO THE LIGHT!"

 
Ah 2012, a year which will bring us a return of Middle Earth, a pseudo-Alien prequel, Christian Bale’s severed spine and a ragtag team up of immense nerdish proportions. Not to mention our impending deaths, whatever. Here, I rundown my personally most anticpated movies for this year.
 
1. Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
 
Admittedly, I’m not a great lover of Tarantino – albeit two of his movies. But the premise behind this latest offering , a tale of a slave’s revenge with the flavour of a spaghetti western, is extremely enticing  – and has begun to build up a credible cast list. This could be a sure fire classic. Get ready for thrills, spills and slick one-liners by the barrel-load!
 
2. Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott)
 
A massive movie event for any film lover. One of cinema’s great auteurs, and awfully jolly nice chap Ridley Scott finally returns to the genre that defined a generation. While we’ve seen the first teaser, a quick-cut montage harkening back to the visual and horror elements that a certain movie called ‘Alien’ included… It’s safe to say that this is most certainly a prequel to the sci-fi classic that will usher in a whole new audience of fans, and, we hope, deliver a faithful testament to the Alien legacy. 
 
3. The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey (dir. Peter Jackson)
 
Probably on the top of my list. This really is the big one people. Our Peter returns to Middle Earth with Tim from The Office and that bloke from Robin Hood for the big screen adap of Tolkien’s yarn of a young Hobbit’s adventure to the Lonely Mountain. The first trailer, introducing us to Bilbo Baggins and his 13 dwarf companions, and also reacquainting the more nostalgic folk with the returning Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) has got me fired up to unfathomable levels. Get some more cabinet space, Mr Jackson, I smell a busy awards season for you.
 
4. The Avengers (dir. Joss Whedon)
 
Geekdom shall rule come early May when Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, BAMF Samuel L Jackson et al team up in Marvel Studio’s biggest picture to date. Story leaks have been few and far between, but some early screen shots and a couple of nifty teasers that are doing the rounds gives the impression to me that this movie could either be a super failure or a super success. My concern for this one is the dynamics… How the hell are all these egos going to work on one stage? Time will tell… Either way, there’s some serious money going into some seriously fat pockets.
 
4. Total Recall (dir. Len Wiseman)
 
Eww, remake…. Fuck this for a laugh. But seriously though – I’m rather on the fence for this one. Colin Farrel assumes the role made famous by Arnie in Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi cult classic, while Underworld director, Len Wiseman takes the helm. I’m very cautious about how they treat this visually, since the original was stunningly complex vivid in its images and effects. I’ll keep my eye on this one. GET DOWN!
 
5. The Dark Knight Rises (dir. Christopher Nolan)
 
The man who can do no wrong brings us his closer to one of the most succesful franchise revivals in recent history. For Batman’s curtain call – Christian Bale squares off with Tom Hardy’s ‘Bane’ – a terrorist seemingly hell-bent on destroying Gotham City and crushing the legacy of The Bat in turn. The 6 minute prologue introducing us to Hardy’s villain, had the world in a moment of pure hysteria… The subsequent trailer? Off the fucking chain. July cannot come any sooner.
 
So, what’s top of everyone else’s 2012 list? Please comment below or like this post. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!

Top 20 Batman-On-Film Moments

I don’t wanna cause a Bat-overload on here – as my last review was Batman Returns. However in light of the last 24 hours on Twitter, and the reveal of a new promotional image for the final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises – I thought I’d use this Sunday afternoon to countdown my top 20 Batman moments on film to date…. Just to ease whatever tension :-)

20. Rachel Dawes using the tazer on Scarecrow (Batman Begins)

Late in the movie, Dr Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy) is busted out of Arkham Asylum by his ‘hired goons’, and goes to town on horseback. Only to be met by Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) and a nice dose of voltage to the kisser… Ouch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. “What A Day…” (Batman)

Presumed dead after the incident at the chemical plant, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), now ‘The Joker’, visits his old boss, Grissom (Jack Palance) – seeking out retribution

18. Catwoman’s Origin (Batman Returns)

After being murdered by boss Max Shreck – Timid secretary, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) gets a taste for milk as she arrives back at her home after being revived by numerous stray cats. Never really ‘got’ the whole idea of this, but Tim Burton and the insatiable taste for the supernatural go hand in hand. Anyway, unnerving scene ahead

17. Playing The Odds (The Dark Knight)

Commissioner Loeb’s memorial service implodes into chaos, leading to District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) apprehending one of Joker’s henchmen and showing a certain side of his personality that would eventually dominate him. Tension by the barrel and an impressive performance by Eckhart.

16. Power (Batman Begins)

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) returns from Princeton University and confronts mob boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson), proving to be the catalyst for Bruce’s desire to seek out vengeance on organised crime in Gotham. A pivotal plot point in the entire film and a great scene directed by Christopher Nolan.

15. “Never rub another man’s rhubarb!” (Batman)

Funny shit! The Joker deals with a crazed Bruce Wayne the only way The Joker can…

14. Carrey’s Riddler (Batman Forever)

Batman Forever is without a doubt one of the more disappointing films in the series. But I’ll be honest… I loved Jim Carrey as The Riddler. Sure he’s campy as hell and it probably didn’t please the fanboys. But I love Carrey and he does what he does best here. There you go, shoot me if you wish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJit_tLOV7E&feature=related

13. The Will To Act (Batman Begins)

Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul begins his training for Bruce in the mountains. Using the art of ninja and methodically delving into Bruce’s dark past. A superbly edited sequence.

12. Robin Revealed (Batman Forever)

Again, a bit of a guilty pleasure. Remembering my favourite character, Robin, from the amazing Batman: The Animated Series, I couldn’t wait to finally see Robin in the flesh on the big screen. Sure, it’s a cheese worthy performance looking back – but the scene where Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell) in costume descends the flight of stairs into the Batcave really was one of the high points of my childhood.

11. “I Am The Batman” (The Dark Knight)

Harvey Dent makes the ultimate sacrifice in light of The Joker’s continual reign of terror. Another stellar scene showcasing the talented Aaron Eckhart

10. Ohhh, what a world! (Batman)

No secret that Jack Nicholson portrayed The Joker to sheer delightfully wicked perfection in Tim Burton’s 1989 film. As Kim Basinger throws water in the face of Napier after he torments her, he retaliates in the most appropriate way possible… :-)

09. No Need To Thank Him (Batman Begins)

After successfully defeating Ra’s Al Ghul and The League Of Shadows, Batman visits Jim Gordon – where the newly promoted Lieutenant voices his fear of escalation in the criminal world. But Batman declares they will find a way, working together. As Gordon produces the calling card of a certain Clown Prince of Crime – we are left in anticipation of what Mr Nolan has in store for us.

08. The Bat Vs The Cat (Batman Returns)

Batman (Michael Keaton) nearly gets his ass handed to him… Then he gets molested… Then he gets nailpoked, go figure.

07. Bank Heist (The Dark Knight)

Filmed in IMAX, Nolan’s prologue to the greatest superhero movie ever gives us a brief taste of things to come. And of course introduces us to Heath Ledger in a defining performance as The Joker.

06. Flass Attack (Batman Begins)

Batman continues his relentless assault on the mob, as well as bent cops. After robbing a food vendor, Detective Flass gets his just desserts as The Dark Knight terrifyingly demands for information. A scene that shows the ‘fear’ that Bruce wants to instil in his enemies.

05. Harvey Two-Face (The Dark Knight)

Another brilliant scene from Nolan’s sequel. While recovering in hospital after the warehouse explosion – Harvey Dent is visited by Gordon, who is attempting to uncover the trace of events. The new Commish is awkward and uneasy in his questioning, and Harvey doesn’t take the bait. Before he finally reveals his horrific injuries to Gordon and vowing vengeance against him. Two Face is born.

04. Starting Tonight (The Dark Knight)

Heath Ledger purely inhabits and revels in his role as The Joker. This scene, filmed on a handheld camera, shows our favourite clown with one of Batman’s copycats tied up and beaten – while Joker threatens Gotham and its citizens on the news. Ledger’s knack to deliver such contrasting and vivid elements to his performances is simply mind-blowing.

03. “Gotham needs its true hero” (The Dark Knight)

The final scene from the film. Jim Gordon, reeling over the murders committed by Harvey Dent and the subsequent ramifications, is taken aback when Batman declares the blame be put upon him. As Harvey must remain a beacon of hope for the city – even in death. While Bats rides off, Gordon calls in a squad to pursue the Batman. Gordon Jr asks his father why he has to run from the police… and Gary Oldman then delivers a closing monologue that has become one of my favourite quotes of the last decade. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psSGVhTd0i8

02. Punchline (Batman)

Batman finally gets his hands on The Joker, who is still insistent on laughing in the face of adversity – even to the end. Jack Nicholson truly at his finest…

01. The Interrogation (The Dark Knight)

Of course, what else would it be? A dazzling performance from Heath Ledger and Christian Bale. It’s relentless and intense as can be as Batman nearly reaches breaking point through The Joker’s provocation and constant taunts . A scene that made Ledger’s posthumous Oscar a thoroughly deserved one.


“We Can Remake It, Make It Stronger”

I’m a film lover. No questions asked. However, I can honestly admit that I hate going to cinemas to watch films. Not really without the risk of disappointment – it’s actually from loss of enthusiasm.
And that’s due to one word. One word that has plagued and addled my brain for the last 5 or so years…
REMAKE

They can sometimes fill us with woe and sometimes make us salivate with anticipation. But bearing in mind that this is now a big market in cinema – is it just alienating cinema-goers, or is it proving to be the best vehicle for bringing those films into the 21st century?
Case and point 1:- Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy

Nineteen years on and still going strong

The idea of a character study Batman film had never been committed to film until Nolan’s 2005 film ‘Batman Begins’. Previous directors, Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher (guhhhh) had released interpretations that were visual-heavy, and tone-heavy with no real substance to the characters. Fleshing out had gone out of fashion. Not to deny that Burton’s flicks weren’t in any way impressive – but on the other hand, they were at an extreme where you had to embrace the inability of believability, and let the ‘comic’ itself steer your perception of the films. Schumacher’s on the other hand took it to a whole other level. Instead of cleverly using the best parts of Burton’s work, he took the bad parts… and made them worse. Or worser than worse. A couple of hammy, campy and shockingly homo-erotic schlock-fests with one that would subsequently become the widely-voted ‘Worst Film Ever Made’.
With two out of the way, and a third in pre-production – Nolan’s films have solidified the Batman revival as one of the greatest in recent film history.
Case and point 2:- Horror Remakes. Why?

"One, two, this film will be poo"

How many times do we go down this road? If anything has never worked in Hollywood, it’s horror remakes. A cheap, lousy homage to some of the best films we’ve seen. And it’s not an exagerration….
Here’s the lowdown of remakes, their revenue, and average rating from Rotten Tomatoes (out of 100%).

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – $107 million – 36%
2. Halloween – $80 million – 26%
3. Friday The 13th – $91 million – 26%
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street – $115 million – 13%

This is an endless list. I kid you not. The main trend is not only the low critical reception, but also the gross revenue. Yeah $100 million bucks is a hell of a lot of money to us folk. But in Hollywood, it’s pretty much just nickels and dimes. They’re barely breaking even with the film’s budget, which would probably lead to low DVD sales, decreased chances of a sequel, and also a great way to polish off a 25 year old actress’ career.
The common problem with Horror in the 2000’s has been what I like to refer to as the ‘Unholy Quadruped’ of film-making…
*Stupid dialogue
*Stupid actors
*Stupid plot
*Stupid endings
Horror remakes flesh out all of those to great effect, on a constant basis. It’s a great discomfort when I actually saw the amount of famous slasher/thriller flicks that have been redone in the last 10 years. Just try thinking of one film that scared the crap out of you as a child, and it’s been remade. It sucks as hell because it just (metaphorically) sucked the life out of everything that made the originals memorable and literally picks the film up, and shakes it tell it’s dead and blue in the face.
And somewhere, somehow Tyler Mane always has something to do with it….(Liev Schriber took his other job…)
So, just how longer will studios go funding these films? Progressively numbing our minds with their visual PCP, and rubbing their collective hands in the process? Probably never. Although I really do wish that if there does ever come a time when films like the above are remade, they’re done with a little more class, and a little more thought.
—————————————————————————–
So there, a viewpoint from both sides of the fence. Personally, I really, really loathe the idea of remakes. Sure, everyone likes a good horror flick. But when you just put in jump-scare after jump-scare it really loses it’s purpose, and that’s a mainstay in these Hollywood remakes. Dramatics with little to no effect. It’s such a waste of our money and precious time – entertain us, for fucks sake!
On the other hand though some people can get it right and change things for the better. Giving us movies that are recognisable, but still fresh. With a lasting appeal and producing a great homage to previous work. It’s just not happening enough for me to think that way.
It’s high time that production companies should be looking outside the box, and not keeping cosy on the inside – Eventually they’ll be gasping for help.

#2 ‘The Fighter’ (2010)

Cast:-

*Mark Wahlberg

*Christian Bale

*Amy Adams

*Melissa Leo

*Jack McGee

Director:- David O.Russell

The most common trait of a sports-related flick is a bog-standard story arc of accomplishment-a great fall- to a climb back up to the top of the mountain. We find reasonance with them as we see them as not superhuman beings, but real people, with real flaws.

One of those, is the story of Lowell, Massachussetts boxing hero ‘Irish’ Micky Ward. A local legend, and half brother of Dicky Eklund, a fighter most notable of his 1978 contest against Sugar Ray Leonard.

At the header of the film, Eklund is Ward’s sparring partner. Prepping him for a fight which could possibly make him a star in the world of boxing. But due to Dicky’s deteroriating well-being and state of mind through a crack-cocaine addiction, Ward’s hopes are swiftly swept away. Their family are left to pick up the pieces, while the two brothers re-asses their lives and what had lead them to that point.

The two leads are supported by Amy Adams as Ward’s future wife Charlene, who is met with hostility and coldness from the Eklund family. Adams is ok, just ok. It’s really a role that anyone could’ve played. The ‘concerned wife’, or ‘love interest’ – it could take any shape or form, it’s essentially a bit-role that takes the heat off of the lead. However, Adams doesn’t really dissappoint as such – just delivers what I would generally expect from such a role. She’s a beautiful actress with a great future, and really should be pushing for more work like this.

Mark Wahlberg is fantastic as Micky Ward. His determination billows through the film’s entirety and there’s a hunger to really show those acting chops that I haven’t seen from Wahlberg since ‘The Departed’. During the second act of The Fighter in particular, where Ward is down and out – you get an ominous feeling of nostalgia as he channels Jake La Motta from Raging Bull, and Rocky himself. To great effect I might add. The fight scenes involving Wahlberg are extremely worthwhile to watch and look incredibly real. Apparently, after years of dedication to training, Wahlberg refused a stunt double, and took the hits himself during those sections.

If there’s one thing The Fighter will be remembered for, it’s Chtistian Bale.

This guy is THE standard. An overwhelming resume, including Empire of The Sun, American Psycho, The Prestige and Batman Begins, has lead up to perhaps his most convincing and powerful role to date. Maybe his defining role. Bale was required to lose weight for the part, which he would find far easier than most people as he’d lost a great deal of weight before shooting The Machinist. He also studied conversations in order to grasp the real depths of Dicky Eklund in preparation for filming.

The film’s central theme is one based on redemption, particularly on the part of Eklund (Bale). As a fallen hero, he see’s his younger brother as his chance to make right all the past wrong-doings he has under his belt. Though you do get a slight inkling of envy throughout the film, due to Ward’s ongoing hunt for glory, and Eklund’s career already passed. But it’s the film’s ending that dramatically washes away any doubts that may have given a preconception that this was simply Ward living out Eklund’s dream. Christian Bale makes a stunningly heart-wrenching speech about his pride for his brother. The scene itself lasts only a few seconds, perhaps a minute – but it just blows you away with the sheer joy and unfathomable happiness he expresses in the words, while Wahlberg humbly acknowledges. It really is something else. Look out come awards season.

The Fighter is no sports film, as such. It’s a well-thought out, and powerfully acted tale of two men’s struggle to redeem themselves.

It’s not how they do it, it’s why they do it.

9.5/10


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