The Fighter: Crack(ed) in the Ring

The Fighter: Crack(ed) in the Ring

Mark Wahlberg either saw High on Crack Street or heard enough about the film and the people who were the main figures in it to eventually work towards fictionalizing their story in The Fighter. It’s basically Massachusetts’ Rocky. And if anyone wants to debate that point, go ahead. You’re wrong.

But it’s really interesting that Darren Aronofsky got an executive producer credit on the Academy Award nominated film, which means Pi’s director had a hand in more than one high profile film at the ceremonies. That’s kinda weird. But what’s equally bizarre is that Aronofsky’s directorial proclivities come through in The Fighter without even having worked on it daily.

From the opening shots, the film’s color as well as how that handi-cam is used echoes not just Black Swan, but Aronofsky’s earlier films. Apart from the look and feel of the entire feature, The Fighter’s focus on drug addiction, thanks to a startling performance from Christian Bale, easily recalls moments from Requiem for a Dream. The same sort of euphoria-inducing cinematography isn’t utilized, but there’s a buncha crack smoking.

So, apart from the crack, though, this is still pretty much Rocky – even if Jason Schwartzman’s mom is here replaced by Amy Adams, an ample working-class chick equally adept at slinging beer as she is slinging barbs and the Wahlberg character’s family. Even after watching High on Crack Street the portrayal of some of these folks seems bizarre. There are certainly some people in the fictional film, not represented at all in the documentary – the father, for one. But even the plot’s grand arc got tarted up for Hollywood. There was really no way, The Fighter could end in a loss. That wouldn’t have sold tickets and probably made the film’s general tenor a bit much to take for the average American.

That being said, watching the Wahlberg character go through his ups and downs, it’s surprising that the film’s final fight scene wasn’t portrayed in a different manner. No, there weren’t epic training scenes on the beach. And while the Russian/American dynamic wasn’t there either, a Brith/Irish thing (or Irish/Irish or Scots/Irish, whatever) could have been exploited to good effect. Even if the relative comeback detailed in the film’s final moments could have occurred, the fact that Wahlberg’s character wasn’t spurred on by anything other than success, which wasn’t heavily discussed throughout the narrative, seems a bit thing. Whatever, it won some awards.