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December 17, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

The Fighter is a terrific movie about a boxer in the tradition of other terrific movies about boxers, critics suggest. That they all seem to follow a similar plotline is almost beside the point, they say. As A.O. Scott sums it up in the New York Times: “This is yet another tale of an underdog battling long odds and stubborn adversity in search of a shot at the big time.” His conclusion: “It scores at least a TKO … it falls just short of overpowering greatness.” Chris Vognar in the Dallas Morning News tries to distinguish this fight film from its predecessors: “If Rocky is the rah-rah fight film of record and Raging Bull applies tragic dimensions to a palooka’s downward spiral, then The Fighter arrives somewhere in between these two opposites.” What really distinguishes the film, say most critics, is the impressive performance of Mark Wahlberg in the title role and Christian Bale as his crack-addicted brother. Says Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel: Acting for the silver screen doesn’t get more raw, moving or accomplished than what you see in The Fighter, that rare film in which every performer in it leaves the viewer in awe.” Those performances, says Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, “are among the year’s best.