The Fighter V. The Wrestler: Round Two

Round Two
Supporting Cast

Both movies have an abundance of incredible supporting performances.  Amy Adams (The Fighter) plays against type as a tough talking, tough living gal and love interest for Wahlberg and though her performance is impressive, both physical (as she gained a tummy and let it all hang out) and on screen in which she’s a lot more raw and dramatic than we’ve ever seen before the most impressive performer in this film is Christian Bale.  I’m a fan of Bale, I’ve always been a fan of Bale and though I love his Dark Knight performances it’s the movies he makes around them that tend to spark the greatest work-out of talent.  As Dicky Eklund he steps into a drug addict and former fighter who’s one moment of fame (knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard) is giving way to that which will be earned from a HBO documentary about addiction.  Micky Ward claimed that Bale was “more like Dicky than Dicky”.  It’s an unbelievable performance.  I’ve never seen an actor who can inhabit a role so entirely, whether the camera was rolling or not Bale walked, talked and behaved like the extroverted Dicky.  His submersion into the life of Dicky is so incredible that you forget “the performance”, he becomes Dicky, he is an addict, he is a former fighter and like Rourke (The Wrestler) he’s powerful, tragic and unblinkingly amazing.

Marisa Tomei (Cassidy in The Wrestler) is the working mum stripper who befriends Randy over a course of his years pounding the mat and licking his wounds late night.  The role is neither flattering or pathetic, her performance is of a mum trying to make ends meet and fully understanding that as the years rack up there will come to a point when other avenues of employment must be found.  In a lot of ways she mirrors Randy, they’re both coming to the end of a career in which they’ve lost more than they’ve earned and though she still has her hearing and not physical scars the emotional ones are present.  She drifts towards Randy because of their similarities before pulling away because “it’s not how it’s done”.  Her role is, primarily, one to further the protagonist but she makes more of it than that.  She reflects him, in a lot of ways she represents everything that he can’t understand, obtain and keep and she would be able to provide all of that to him and ultimately save him if she was about to understand, obtain and keep it herself…but she can’t and it only goes to make everything that little more tragic.

Tomei gives it her all, she’s tragically flawed and poignantly strutting the last of her moves but is no match for incredible force of Christian Bale who gives a performance that makes you live on the outer most edge of your seat for all 116 minutes.

The Fighter 1 – 1 The Wrestler


Gabriel said...

Pretty cool idea to compare both movies in such a way.
I totally agree. As much as I love the way Tomei has aged, Bale as Dicky, gave here one of the best performances of his career. Even though I find it a great moving film, Bale was definitely my favorite thing in it.

Gabriel said...

ps: a couple of months ago i tried to comment on your review of Cosmopolis and it wouldn't let me, saying comments were reserved for members of something i can't remember. glad it's no longer an issue. cheers.

John Baxter said...

Cheers Gabriel, somehow I was getting loads of spam so I stuck the restrictions on but I stuck them on too high and I've only gotten around to lowering the bar.

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