I want to know if the people who created this movie decided to do so after the success of Seabiscuit in theaters or after the success of Million Dollar Baby
. I haven't actually seen the latter and am making the comparison simply because it is yet another boxing movie. Of the former, I have seen the movie and read the book and can, and will, comment on the similarities shortly. First, I should address the movie before me on its own. Would only be fair after all.
So. Cinderella Man. First off, I hate boxing. It disturbs me to watch people just beat the crap out of each other, even kill each other, for no good reason. They end up with broken ribs and bones and jaws and all sorts of scars. And why? I'm sure there is a reason, I just don't know it. And I don't like watching it. Too much blood and bashing with no real reason.
The movie itself was pretty well done. A bit long. There were a few plot holes. After all, at one point, one of the kids was sick and running a high fever. Russell Crowe and Renee Z's (her name is far too long to spell out) characters couldn't afford to keep the heat or electricity on so Renee decided to send her kids off to her dad's. Russell Crowe comes home, is furious, goes out and humbles himself to borrow money. He brings the kids home with him. Miraculously, the sick kid is well. So... to cure pneumonia or a flu one only needs heat and electricity? Hmmm... Good to know.
I had two other annoyances with the movie.
The first was a recurring thing in the plot. Everytime Russell Crowe went to fight, his vision would get blurry. Sometimes this would lead to flashbacks. Sometimes, it would just seem like he was close to losing consciousness. But he never did. Since he didn't lose consciousness during the fights, I assumed it implied some underlying problem --- presumably acquired from years of being a professional boxer --- that would be explained at the climax. I'm still waiting to know what it meant.
The other major annoyance was the camera work. The videographers --- or whoever is actually in charge of the camera work --- decided to be very creative during the fights. They liked to give close up views of faces being punched, or sides, or stomachs, and even more they liked to give perscpective shots of punching and being punched. They liked to give the samples from both fighters, not just the main character's. This led to me constantly being confused about whether it was a good thing there was a harsh hit or not. After all, I'm supposed to be rooting for Russell Crowe and he took a lot of hits. So, when they kept changing the cameras, I could never tell if he was being hit or hitting successfully.
Aside from those flaws, the story was nice enough. I just couldn't help comparing it to Seabiscuit. This movie was pitched as a story about a man who gave people struggling during the depression courage and hope because of his courage in the face of adversity. When they made Seabiscuit a couple of years ago. They told it as the story of a horse who gave a nation suffering through the depression hope because of his overwhelming courage. Both were scrappy, unlikely fighters who were always at a disadvantage yet somehow always (or at least almost always) found a way to overcome. And just like in Seabiscuit, at the end, during the climactic fight, (just like the climactic race) they kept showing people watching the fight and/or listening to it on radios trying to will their underdog to victory so that they might have hope that they too can triumph. And in both cases, the underdog won. (Though I was convinced Russell Crowe was also going to die. AFter all, that would explain the constantly blurred vision.)
Overall, it wasn't bad. Worth seeing if you're at all interested in the subject matter (boxing, depressions, etc) or like the cast. For the most part it was well done. Its just that, it wasn't for me. I don't necessarily feel that I wasted the 2 hours I spent watching it. Two hours was a bit long for my attention span. And given the choice, I'd much rather rewatch Seabiscuit. But, not bad.