As hard as Wahlberg worked, the entire cast is phenomenal. Christian Bale is almost unrecognizable as Dicky Eklund. Melissa Leo is the matriarch of one crazy, and large family (two sons and seven daughters). Amy Adams is always good and does not miss a beat, as Micky's tough, smart, supportive girlfriend. And its definitely an against type role for her, just one of her profane rants accomplishes that. Mickey O'Keefe, plays himself, the Lowell cop who trained Micky. The entire ensemble works so well together, paired with the scenery of Lowell and the costuming, the movie really is a glimpse at the real life character's lives (Conan O'Brien's sister Kate plays one of the seven sisters!).
Camera techniques add to a "documentary" feel, though not in all scenes, which is good. The style adds to the film while not being overdone. The fight scenes also seem to appear as if they are being watched on tv. The actual HBO commentaries were used over the footage shot for the movie.
I lost count of how many times I thought, I love Mark Wahlberg, throughout the movie.
Which leads me to my top three entertainers of 2010. First off, Mark Wahlberg. He stars in the Fighter, clearly a serious, committed, fully invested role. He also stole every scene in Date Night that he was in and showed more of his comedic talents in The Other Guys with Will Ferrell ("No, seriously, who is she?!"). On the small screen, he often guests as himself on Entourage and also executive produced three other HBO series this year -- In Treatment, Boardwalk Empire and How to Make it in America.
My second entertainer of the year, Jon Hamm. Commanding host of SNL (twice in 2010), hilarious as hunky-idiot and Liz's ex on 30 Rock, and of course, Don Draper on Mad Men. He also co-starred in another Massachusetts movie of the year, Ben Affleck's the Town.
Number three, James Franco. As co-host of the Oscars and likely nominee for Best Actor in 127 Hours, he has the serious side covered. He too guest starred on 30 Rock, appeared on General Hospital, was in Date Night along side Mila Kunis, and Eat Pray Love's first act with Julie Roberts. He also is pursuing multiple graduate degrees and his book of short stories was published.
I wish I had at least one female but none come to mind for 2010 that had multiple successes across genres and media forms like these three guys.