Review: Why Warrior Deserves A Standing Ovation

Written by Tony Ibrahim     30/04/2012 | 04:00 | Category name i.e.MUSIC & MOVIES

Warrior mercilessly pulls no punches, but you'll want to watch it again and again.

Warrior takes two estranged brothers torn apart by a reformed alcoholic father and unites them through the violent and unforgiving sport of mixed martial arts. Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton), the eldest brother, is a physics teacher tortured by his daughter's medical expenses and the paralysis of not being able to help her. Financially, he sits on the precipice of middle-class and broke, with momentum going against him.

In his early teens, His brother Tommy (Tom Hardy) fled with his mum in a bid to escape his bottle-dependant father. The film opens with Tommy returning to his home town, his stint with the army turning him to the same substance that tore his family apart, confronting his dad (Nick Nolte) with loaded dialogue that pierces the skin.

The three characters are inextricably drawn towards a mixed martial arts tournament that promises the sole winner a big payout. Brendan enters the tournament looking for the capitalist face that handicaps his breadwinner abilities, while Tommy, under the cold tutelage of his father, signs up looking for something more.

You can't help but cringe when watching a UFC fight. It brutally pits men against one another and plays out Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' notion. Warrior faithfully replicates the gut-wrenching magnetism that has seen the sport thrive, but the face-shattering punches only tickle the surface.

The real gravity comes from the film's visceral emotional core, with the relationship between the two sons and their father playing out in a bout significantly more violent and rewarding than UFC. The complex interplay is woven within the characters, their story, the music and the sublime performances of all three actors. Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte in particular deserve recognition for their portrayal of checkered characters who will undeniably win the audience's affection.

Warrior starts off with damaged characters that embark on a million-to-one premise punctuated by unchartered lows and ecstatic highs, only to come full circle. It achieves an elusive kind of equilibrium, gracefully feeling authentic and granting its somewhat-implausible narrative with characters so tangible—so real—it seems plausible, believable, and is utterly, utterly engrossing.

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