Genre: Drama, Sport
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison
Warrior is an intense and personal drama film with gripping action and a heartfelt character driven story. Described as a sports drama film, this may change how you feel about sports films if any are half as good as this.
The premise of this epic is centred on two men who, despite being brothers, have lived very different lives away from one another. Their father’s alcoholism in their youth divided them and years later they know nothing of each other’s lives.
Warrior features a small main cast, which keeps the film engaging and the plot focused. Brothers Brendan (Joel Edgerton) and Tommy (Tom Hardy) initially appear to fit into their roles perfectly. Tom Hardy is almost too pretty to be the broody and angry fighter from the streets, whilst Brendan appears at the start of the movie in the bright lights of the classroom, where he’s working as a physics teacher. He’s at odds though as his face is hard but his tone is soft. As the film progresses, the realisation hits that they’ve been correctly cast; their past has made them the men they are, and that is who you glimpse in their faces.
Brendan and Tommy, both for their own reasons, end up getting back into fighting, having been wrestlers in their youth. This is the tool with which the parent-child relationships are shown. Tommy trains at a local fighters gym keeping himself to himself and carrying an unknown singular purpose with him. He’s filled with determination. He’s direct to an almost cold and unkind level, but you can trust he’s doing something necessary. Hardy is wonderful, as ever, at presenting a man with convictions, in every single scene.
Edgerton makes for an out of place teacher because he looks like a fighter. He looks like he’s seen some action so you’d be forgiven for thinking that he doesn’t make a believable teacher. Then he speaks – he’s got a teacher’s tone so you can buy it. Luckily you don’t have to buy the act for long as he’s soon in a cage fighting for cash, cash that his family desperately needs to save their home. He’s harder to root for than Hardy’s Tommy because though his motivations aren’t supposed to be self-centred, the way that he enacts them are. His doting wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison – House, Once Upon A Time) doesn’t want him to be a fighter if it risks his life, but he does it anyway.
By the highly energetic and climactic second half of the movie, the separate stories of the brothers come together. There are some outrageously good fight scenes that are brutal but not too gruesome. Hardy is particular looks in phenomenal shape, so his no nonsense battle style has serious impact. Edgerton just about looks the part but wins you over with technique and style. Whether you like his character or not, you’ll be wanting him to win his fights.
The ending could only go one way in the end but the journey to get there will keep you guessing about how it’s going to develop. This movie will hold your attention throughout and you’ll exhale with relief at the end from action exhaustion.
Available on Netflix.