|Director:||David O. Russell|
|05.28.11||Netflix|| My old college buddy Trapper once commented to me that there's innovation and there's execution and excelling in either is basis for respect. Since we were in college, I think the sentiment came out more as a ham-fisted defense of Bruce Willis in Armageddon but still, I get what he means. This movie is an excellent example of execution. It's a boxing movie based on a true story involving two brothers overcoming underdog odds, a junkie who struggles with kicking his habit. It involves a love story and a championship fight at the end that the good guy wins (spoilers!). On the page, it couldn't be more familiar, yet in the right hands with the right people and the right amount of verisimilitude and heart and nuance and character, you get something to be repsected.|
I thought this was really great. It seems pretty boring to say it like that but whatever. It's amazing how Mark Wahlberg can turn in such a great performance when he wants to or when someone knows how to get it out of him considering most of his other work. Here, he's quiet but not in the blank way that he usually is. I hesitate to put ALL the credit on him to anchor the piece because everybody else was firing on all cylinders as well, but I can see where he may be forgotten in the fray and he really put forward an understated - yet active - performance.
It's also great to see David O Russell deliver. It's funny how all these directors making incest comedies and mathematical noirs in the late nineties are now dominating Oscar season. It'll be exciting to see where these guys - Russell, Aronofsky, Paul Thomas Anderson - go in the future.
Great movie. Really well made.