For every new movie from Netflix’s wild and wonderful producers, there is a plethora of classic titles waiting for you to press play and be transported back in time. Yes, for every new Ryan Gosling blockbuster, every Dwayne Johnson thriller, there is an iconic movie waiting to be unravelled. Through Netflix Flashback, we’re trying to shine a light on those movies, and, this week, it’s the turn of David O. Russell’s brutal classic The Fighter.
Helping to establish the career of Jennifer Lawrence with the films Silver Linings Playbook and Joy, filmmaker David O. Russell is known for his dark vein of comedy and snappy, sparky storylines. A mainstay of contemporary cinema, he has been nominated for five separate Academy Awards for writing and directing achievements. However, he has never been fortunate enough to take an iconic Oscar statuette home.
Displaying an evident passion for his craft, he explained to Film Comment in 2014, “You must do every film like it’s your final film, every scene like it’s your last scene, and that’s the only chance you have to land on that very narrow landing strip”.
He adds, “It means you’ve got to hit it hard from the heart. It has to be a very captivating cinematic experience on many levels. The characters have to be very soulful and riveting in a way that’s very satisfying, that makes you love and care, and before you know it, it’s over”.
One of those shining moments came with his powerful and potent picture, The Fighter. It is undoubtedly the director’s finest piece of cinema, David O. Russell’s incredible adaptation of the true story of Micky Ward, a small-time boxer trying to escape the shadow of his famous, though troubled older brother, is an altogether powerful piece of filmmaking.
Featuring a tremendous, Oscar-winning performance from Christian Bale, who fuels the film from its dramatic core, Russell’s film also stars the likes of Mark Wahlberg and the Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo. A major critical and commercial success, The Fighter was nominated for several Academy Awards and remained a dramatic boulder train, telling the story of familial love whilst delivering a compelling sports drama.
It is simply a must-see film, and you can watch The Fighter on Netflix right now.