Thanks to Roadshow films we had the chance to see Gavin O’Connor’s ‘Warrior’ before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say; we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
‘Warrior’ tells the story of 2 brothers Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) and Brendan (Joel Edgerton), who haven’t seen each other for 14 years, because they were distanced by the separation of their parents and the death of their mother, and the main reason for their separation was the alcohol problem of their father Paddy (Nick Nolte).
All changes when Tommy suddenly came back to knock on his dad’s door, asking him to train him for the biggest mixed martial arts tournament ever held – ‘Sparta’ with a reward of 5 million dollars for the winner. Paddy, who trained Tommy ages ago, is putting him before his older brother Brendan, as he used to make Tommy feel less important. However, despite the fact that Tommy is back in training with his dad, he still doesn`t forgive him for all the damages he has done to the family. Furthermore, Tommy has a huge secret: he has served in the army where he was an unofficial war hero and a deserter at the same time.
On the other hand, Brendan is a physics teacher, and before that, he was a UFC fighter with a great reputation, but he left his entire fighter past behind after marrying his girlfriend Tess (Jennifer Morrison) and becomes the father of 2 girls. Yet, a twist comes in Brendan’s life when one of his daughters requires an expensive treatment for a heart disease, making them running out of money and putting their house in jeopardy. Reason enough for Brendan to start fighting again in order to get some extra cash, this is the path that will lead him to compete in ‘Sparta’ and face not only his destiny but his brother, who seems to still hate him after all these years.
‘Warrior’, is an excellent family drama, perhaps one of the best in years, which counts with outstanding performances of the entire cast with Tom Hardy and Australia’s Joel Edgerton carrying the weight of the film alone. Both actors developed unique personalities for their characters, making the viewers almost impossible to decide which one to support, especially when they face off each other, because throughout the film, you identify so much with aspects of both characters and their background that you want both of them to win. Moreover, adding to Hardy and Edgerton’s portrayal, the characterisation of Nick Nolte, who is as usual fantastic, pushes the drama in some scenes to a climax, as a lonely, sober old man supported solely by his audio-book version of “Moby-Dick”.
The narrative of the film, is easy to follow, thanks to a great script, and even better directions by O’Connor, that makes you feel like the 2 hours 20 minutes length of the film flew by, wishing that it can keep going even after it finished.
Obviously, the action sequence of the movie is greatly at presence, and every single fighting scene is unique, as well as the different fighters in the film. The realism of it all, with no elevated fictional style stunts and acrobatics, means that you see real men punching each other in real fights, where the tenacity and techniques are sometimes more important than the brutal force. You can see the excellent work being put into the pre-production of the movie and all the training that the actors underwent in preparation, which is something that many UFC fans will enjoy and give credit for.
‘Warrior’ is a movie that unfortunately has been marketed as a new version of ‘Rocky’, and despite their similar elements, this film is a raw and fresh production with a rollercoaster of emotions and intense moments that will bring a tear or two to many men and women’s’ eyes. A film absolutely worth seeing, and in our opinion, a good genuine candidate for some Oscar nominations next year, it kind of follows the path of last year’s hit ‘The Fighter’.
‘Warrior’ opens in Australian cinemas next October 27.