See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie. Seriously, go see Warrior.
I walked into Warrior excited. I had read several reviews saying that it was amazing. It was mind blowing as a character piece. It was intense as a fight film. It was just a damn good movie. So it had some very high expectations to live up to. Warrior blew my expectations away, and has become one of my very favorite movies of 2011.
Warrior is the story of a family, if you consider a group of people who hate each other a family. The family consists of a father, Paddy (Nick Nolte); a son, Tommy (Tom Hardy); and another son, Brendan (Joel Edgerton).
Paddy is a recovering alcoholic, and the reason that everyone hates each other. Back when he was a drunk he mercilessly beat his wife. Now he has been sober for almost three years and he desperately wants to make things right with his sons. His past transgressions have made that just short of impossible. Watching the anguish on Nick Nolte’s face as he is repeatedly reminded of that is gut wrenching and you feel pain for this man who does not deserve it.
Brendan is the older of the two sons and is now married with two kids. (It is of note that he is married to Tess, who is played by the beautiful Jennifer Morrison.) He has just found out that he is upside down on his mortgage and if he doesn’t do something about it his home will be foreclosed and taken from him in 90 days. This leads him back to the Mixed Martial Arts ring where he hopes to earn a quick buck to keep his family in their home.
Tommy is pain. You can see it in his face in every moment of Warrior. You can hear it in his words. You can see it in his fights. I will not spoil the levels of pain that he has gone through, but suffice to say that everyone he has ever loved or been loved by has either deserted him or died. In a film filled with amazing acting and mind blowing fights, Tom Hardy stands head and shoulders above everyone else. (I am so pumped to see what he does for Chris Nolan in Nolan’s final Batman next Summer.)
Tommy and Brendan both end up getting into a huge competition where the winner will walk away with $5 million dollars. It is single elimination. Both men must fight in order to get that money, and both have very strong reasons to let no one get in their path to victory.
I promise that I have ruined nothing in this film by telling you as much as I already have. To back that up, I offer two reasons to see Warrior:
1. The fights. I am going to be a bit confusing here and say that there is really not that much screen time for fights in Warrior. For a film about a Mixed Martial Arts competition, I would guess that only about 10% of the film depicts fights. But that screen time is extremely well utilized. Tommy and Brendan have very distinct fighting styles. Brendan is thoughtful and waits out his opponent until he sees a weakness. Tommy is pain and fury. Where Brendan will go three rounds with most of his opponents, you will be lucky if Tommy’s fights last more than 10 seconds. That said, both of them have several fights that are nothing short of amazing to watch.
2. The emotion. It is very rare that a film makes me feel. Warrior did several times. Warrior made me care about all three of the family members it centers on, even though I probably only really liked Brendan as a person. I felt for everything that happened to Tommy. Same with Paddy and Brendan. Warrior does something amazing in that it achieves this through acting. There is not a lot of exposition or telling the audience what to feel. We get to watch the emotion and pain in every actor or actress’s face and interpret their thoughts and feelings from there. In a day and age where directors feel like they need to tell their audience exactly how to feel and when to feel it, I applaud Gavin O’Connor for letting us get there on our own.
Warrior is amazing. I loved the fights. I loved the people. I walked out and instantly started thinking of all of the people who I wanted to physically force to watch this great movie. I recommend Warrior to pretty much anyone. There is violence, but it is realistic and not bloody. See this movie.
Have you seen Warrior? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.