It’s a classic scenario (James Dean and Richard Davalos in “East of Eden”) that never gets old (Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in “Raging Bull).
Technically speaking, THE FIGHTER, the character director David O. Russell named his film after, is Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), an aging boxer badly managed by his mother, Alice, and sporadically coached by his crack addict, ex-boxer brother Dicky (Christian Bale), but given what actually gets the most screen time an alternate title could be “watch Christian Bale act like a drug addict for two hours.”
David O. Russell, who began his movie career as a Sundance Film Festival ticket taker in 1991, woke up today to find that his film THE FIGHTER had nabbed seven Academy Award nominations, including best picture and, for him, best director. It was a triumph for the filmmaker, who has experienced career ups and downs…
It’s getting to be that time – Golden Globes coming this weekend; non-stop awards season chatter until February. I happened to be watching LAUREL CANYON the other night, and seeing Christian Bale in that 2002 Lisa Cholodenko flick; I started thinking about these two artists, then and now. They currently exist in the same universe once again for said upcoming awards madness, as Bale makes a hard Method-acting hit with THE FIGHTER and Cholodenko goes the emotional distance with THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT. Both artists have made enviable progress in their careers since they were splashing around the pool in LAUREL CANYON (well, Bale splashed; Cholodenko ostensibly was at the monitor, poolside). While Bale has continued to take his craft outward, going beyond his typical detached cool-guy role (think AMERICAN PSYCHO), Cholodenko has successfully traveled even further in, going deeper into the modern American psyche with regard to family and love. Outward and inward – it’s inspiring.