- Director:Gavin O'Connor
- Cast:Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Morrison, Nick Nolte
- Release Date:October 27, 2011
- Running time:140 minutes
- Film Worth:$18.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Dotted with emotional honesty and strong storytelling that you only find in truly special movies.
Don't let the bloody nosed, split lip trimmings fool you. Despite being set within the bone-cracking world of Mixed Martial Arts - a relatively new form of freestyle competition fighting, taking in everything from boxing and wrestling to jiu-jitsu, karate, and whatever else takes your fancy - Warrior is no action flick. This is a gutsy, salty story about a working class American family in crisis, ripped to shreds by alcohol, illness and plain old pig-headedness. It's the kind of fertile ground that has inspired filmmakers - of both the studio and independent variety - for years, and Warrior sits closer to the likes of Robert Redford's Ordinary People and Jim Sheridan's Brothers than it does Bloodsport or Enter The Dragon...though those are pretty cool movies too. In Warrior, the emotional violence hurts a lot more than the physical body-blows.
Longtime estranged brothers, Brendan (Joel Edgerton) and Tommy (Tom Hardy), have a big, razor-edged axe to grind. When younger men, Brendan opted to stay with their drunken father (Nick Nolte), while Tommy left with their mother, who eventually took ill and died, essentially alone in her son's arms. Now years later, both men - through wildly differing circumstances - are training to compete in Sparta, a high profile Mixed Martial Arts tournament. Sure, you might be able to guess where this is going, but the journey there is dotted with the kind of emotional honesty and strong storytelling that you only find in truly special movies.
Directed with a subdued muscularity by Gavin O'Connor (Pride And Glory) - obviously a fan of slow burning seventies cinema - and performed with absolutely explosive energy and charisma by Edgerton and Hardy (and surprising restraint by an excellent Nick Nolte), the thundering and compelling Warrior is defined as much by its eventual tenderness and brief moments of optimism as it is by its brutal fight scenes.