Warrior (2011)

Director: Gavin O’Connor
Writer: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis & Cliff Dorfman
Actors: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo & Kevin Dunn

I’m not a fan of UFC which is why I’ve arrived late to the Warrior party.  But despite its darkness and violent tone this is not a violent movie.  Rather it is a sports drama about two estranged brothers fighting through their past and against their penitent father.  The performances by the entire cast are so touchingly genuine that it will take a second viewing before I become overly aware of the clichés pointed out by some critics and the formulaic plot points found in most movies about athletes.

What I liked: Everything about the film feels so authentic that I wondered if the movie was based on a true story (thankfully it isn’t).  Performances by Tom Hardy (who is quickly becoming my favourite ‘it’ actor), Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte move the story forward with such wonder and tension that despite a predictable final act, the journey is what makes Warrior enjoyable.  Frank Grillo, as trainer Frank Campana, embodies true friendship and he became the eyes through which I watched this story unfold.

What I didn’t like: I can only really pinpoint two scenes.  The first is the confrontation scene between the two brothers.  The scene preceding it carried more emotional weight than the confrontation itself as the setting took me out of the film for a moment.  The second isn’t in the film: Giving away as little as possible, all I can say is, the moment of revelation for the finale could have been more subtle to fit with the emotional tone of the movie and I wanted to see Frank’s reaction more than anyone’s.

My rating: Packed the biggest emotional punch (so to speak) I’ve felt in years.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
IMBD: 8.4

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