English professor Jim Bennett has a dual personality. By day, he lectures university students in an animated way on the modern novel. By night, he debases himself and everything he professes to believe by repeatedly wagering every dollar he has and all he can borrow, up to a quarter million, until he's stripped bare. He embraces peril and courts disaster.
The film's title tells the tale: "Lone Survivor," but that revelation doesn't begin to convey the intense, gut-wrenching Afghan war mission of the four SEALs featured. Seldom has a film so powerfully thrust the viewer into the violent action, communicating desperation and determination as well as dedicated brotherhood. This makes the tragedy that unfolds all the more horrific.
Just as the song promises and "Broken City" delivers, New York, New York, is a "helluva town." Only, the movie, unlike the song, is dark and murderous and craven. "Broken City" posits that the Big Apple has a bad apple for a mayor, plus a killer cop, an adulterous First Lady, and thugs in every echelon of society.
When Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees director David O. Russell signed on to make The Fighter, he certainly knew boxing films clichés and had no intention of merely repeating them. What he, stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Melissa Leo have delivered does include some obligatory moments but also probes family dynamics in surprising and gratifying ways.