Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby

This is the type of movie where to say too much would be to give the entire thing away. Things you should know about this movie: Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank all deserve whatever awards they recieve for their amazing work, and probably more than they will get. Each plays a crucial role in the film, both in the main plot of the movie (a woman boxer struggling to make it to the top) and several subplots that become apparent through the first half of the movie.

What you haven't seen in the trailers, or the posters, or with discussions with friends are the parts of the movie that will truly move you. The parts that will break you down. Million Dollar Baby is an amazing film which will get to the core of you whether you like it or not.

Clint Eastwood, starring in his bajillionth movie (he also directed), is Frankie Dunn, a 'cutter' in the boxing world, and trainer to an athlete with a great future in the ring by the name of Big Willie Little (Mike Colter). He runs a small gym which instead of making money, is somehow losing it despite several great fighters having trained there. He has lost touch with himself, and is struggling to come to terms with his religion. Along with him is an old friend in the form of Eddie "Scrappy" Dupris (Morgan Freeman) who is blind in one eye, but sharp of wit and full of heart. Before too long, a young female boxer named Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks through their door, and that is when the story starts in earnest.

Unfortunately, as I said, to say anything more about the plot beyond that point would be to give it all away. There is some mild foreshadowing, as things which will obviously become important later in the film are brought up, but in the end it is the unexpected things that will really bring the human drama to the viewer. I can understand now, having seen it, why people are calling this the best movie of the year (for 2004) and I would happily agree that it stands out as one of the best movies I have seen in the past twelve months. Had I seen this prior to the New Year, it would have appeared high on the 'Top 10' posting.

The camera work is great; really first-rate stuff. There are some framing shots and lighting tricks that are really touching. The sound was good; the effects of the gym, the punching bag, the boxing matches... all really done well. I would recommend this movie to anyone. 9 out of 10.

Trailer:



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