Comparing it to previous boxing movies, I'd rank it as a heavyweight.
The film (based on a true story) revolves around Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) , a boxer attempting to be as successful as his older Brother Dicky (Christian Bale), who was once a great Fighter, but has now became addicted to crack. I'd describe the film as a character study of Micky, showing his straining relationship with his family and the conflict between them and his new girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams).
It's a fairly slow-moving plot. It takes a while to get into it, but believe me, once you're in, it doesn't let you go. The characters were written beautifully, you felt for each of the characters, you wanted to see them succeed, and love eachother, to just get on. You cheered for Micky in his fights and winced when he was getting used as a human punching bag by a 165 pound man that was built like a bulldozer. It takes a good writer to make characters like that consistently. Dicky was by far the most intriguing character, he's a well known guy, in fact, you could even call him a local hero for his epic win against Sugar Ray Leonard fourteen years ago. He is well loved by his family, girlfriend and son but you see him throwing it away time and time again, flaking off on his responsibilities and getting himself into all sorts of trouble.
And yet, you feel for him. He's only trying to make everyone happy.
I agree entirely with the Oscar nominations for this film. Bale is fantastic as the crack-addicted Dicky, he plays the lovable stoner, rather than the crack addict, he's the comic relief in an otherwise serious film, and yet, the character deals with trial and tribulations constantly during the course of the movie. Amy Adam's is great in it as well, a whole other world away from some of her past performances. She played a confident, young woman who finally convinced Micky to break away from his families constant command and get a manager. She also throws a mean punch...
You'll see what I mean.
Mark Wahlberg was nothing amazing to be quite honest. He didn't have enough important scenes for him to be amazing though. Micky looked up to Dicky as if he was his hero. The relationship between Bale and Wahlberg reflected this perfectly. In fact, the whole cast had amazing chemistry with eachother.
Not much to mention in the form of direction. I adored the use of 90's-esque sport TV recordings that blended perfectly with the audiences usual view of the characters and action. O. Russell directed it very simply, simple yet effective. But to re-iterate, there's not a lot of scenes where you can point out meaningful shots.
But the movie is not propelled by it's use of direction, or editing. Much like "The King's Speech", it's greatness lies with it's characters and with it's script. The characterization for all the characters were fantastic, even if the character development was lacking. It touches upon subjects such as police brutality and drug addiction without being "in your face".
Recommend this movie, go to see it if you're wanting to watch great performance. One of the better Oscar nominated movies.