The Fighter had another triumphant Manhattan showing last night, and at a good theatre for a change — i.e., Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade as opposed to the always-crappy-sounding Lincoln Square. After the lights came up star-producer Mark Wahlberg, director David O. Russell and Best Supporting Actress contender Melissa Leo sat for a q & a. Strong applause greeted the closing credits. New Yorker critic David Denby was there. Smart crowd, pretty middle-aged women, etc. It was the place to be.
The sound is indistinct on these iPhone clips (I forgot my camera due to being fagged and shagged from a red-eye flight I took on Saturday night), but if you turn the sound way up or wear headphones you can make it out.
So why weren’t Christian Bale or Amy Adams there? And why aren’t they taking part in today’s Four Seasons luncheon (which I’ll be attending at 12:30 pm)? Both give serious heavy-hitter supporting performances, and both are very likely Oscar nominees in their respective categories. And that’s not just the usual blah-blah.
Adams gave birth to a daughter about four months ago but if she bails on these events she’s going to weaken her standing, and in my opinion she’s easily Leo’s equal. (Her character is just as feisty, and is clearly the more sympathetic of the two.) We all know Bale doesn’t like to do these dog-and-pony shows but it’s December, for Chrissake, and he needs to get over it. You have to lube up and bend over. Is Bale this year’s Monique in this respect? Monique mixed with George C. Scott, I mean?
The Fighter delivers like a total champ the second time — no weakening, no diminishment. And the sound, as mentioned, was much cleaner and more crisp-sounding at the Walter Reade than it was at the Lincoln Square. Beware of Lincoln Square at all times!
On 11.12 I said that The Fighter is “a rugged little blue-collar thing that (I know this sounds like a cliche) pulses with grit and real feeling and emotional immediacy. It’s loose and crafty with a hurried, shot-on-the-fly quality. Which makes it feel appropriately “small” and local-feeling. To watch it is to be in it
I also said that “ten minutes into it I was saying to myself, ‘Wait…this is good…this is good…this feels right.’
“Hollywood has made good films about Massachusetts blue-collar people, but for me they felt ‘acted’ (like The Town and, no offense, The Departed). But Russell and Wahlberg, shooting almost entirely in Lowell on a fast 33-day schedule, have made some kind of real-deal thing here.
“And the cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema (Let The Right One In) is brilliant — it feels close and true as it bobs and weaves and circles like a boxer And the soundtrack is full of great music, ’60s and ’70s pop tracks and lots of newer-sounding, heavy-percussion stuff, and it all just seems perfect for the task at hand. In this sense The Fighter is almost like Hal Ashby‘s Coming Home with one right-sounding cut after another playing like a juke box in a diner.”