Movie Review: Warrior

A few reviews ago, Sudeep said that every review may not be a recommendation. Anubhav said that I should try not to divulge too many facts in a review. Bullshitting both these advises, I write this. Warrior! A film, a journey, a feeling. 2 hours and 20 minutes, utilized to the fullest. It is a shame though that this film did not even hit the theaters in India.

Warrior

If I may say, Warrior is by far one of the best films of 2011 and the best ever on contact sports. While films like Karate Kid and Never Back Down were ‘good films’ on underdog victories in martial arts or fight sports, but Warrior is different. Warrior comes with an emotional baggage that has nothing to do with impressing a girl or fighting her ex-boyfriend. Warrior is a film based on Mixed Martial Arts, a sport without many rules, and with last man standing, seemingly, as the only way of winning a bout. Warrior is a story of a dysfunctional family of Mixed Martial Arts wrestlers. When a wall street investor announces a five million dollar world heavy-weight competition in Mixed Martial Arts, Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) comes looking for his dad after 14 years only to train with him for the competition. Tommy’s older brother, Brenden Conlon (Joel Edgerton), now a physics professor and father of two, must also take part in the same competition and must win it in order to pay the mortgage on his house and keep his family afloat. Both Tommy and Brenden hate their father (Nick Nolte), who was a violent alcoholic, for deserting his family when they needed him the most.

Tommy gets into the competition riding the popularity of a YouTube video of him beating a famous wrestler while Brenden manages to fill in for an injured wrestler. But the story isn’t this simple. Tommy needs the money to support his brother-in-arms’ family and the brothers hate each other too. Now who wins and how is for you to find out but every punch and kick has more to it than meets the eye.

Tom Hardy in the role of fierce ring animal and fighter is impeccable. He possesses at the moment probably the most chiseled body in Hollywood and if he has done this with Warrior, I just can’t wait to see him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. The only thing that could have been better for Hardy’s character is that it could perhaps have a little more depth to it, hence the scope for performance is limited. What Tommy’s character lacks, Brenden’s character makes up for in leaps and bounds. Joel Edgerton has given the performance of a lifetime. Both as an ageing wrestler and as a struggling husband and father. Nick Notle playing their father gives a sympathetic performance and his remorse as a failed father deserves an applause. One particular scene that I liked was between Edgerton and Notle in which Edgerton confronts his father for for coming to his house and says ‘unless your hands are working, you could have always called.’

The film has great cinematography and it moves at a rather quick pace in order to create the necessary build up. Fights have been choreographed so well that you almost feel the pain of the actors when watching them. The final gush of an elder brother’s love leaves you speechless and one can easily think that there’s ten minutes of story left when the film ends leaving you begging for more. Its thumbs-up form my side for director Gavin O’Connor’s Warrior. If you miss it, then you’ve missed the best Martial Arts movie in recent time.

My Rating: 4.5/5