Warrior (2011)

This may be a mixed martial arts (MMA) movie in appearance, but really Warrior is put together like a traditional boxing movie. Director/co-writer Gavin O’Connor (Miracle) takes a kitchen-sink approach to storytelling; just about every damn dramatic thing you can think of, short of emergency baby deliveries, is stuffed into this movie. You’ve got two brothers, one a hard luck school teacher (Joel Edgerton) trying to save the bank from taking his home (his family is broke due to his sick daughter’s medical condition), and the other (Tom Hardy) an Iraq War vet who saved lives and wants no glory, for he’s haunted by the men in his platoon who did not survive. Add a drunken father (Nick Nolte) trying to live life on the straight-and-narrow who wants to get back in his sons’ good graces, the teacher’s community rallying around him, the Marine’s comrades in service rallying around him, and some major personal issues between brothers (Hardy feels that his bro abandoned him and their sick mother), and two competing underdog tales, and my God, it’s hard not to feel beaten into submission. But damn if it isn’t effective stuff. I was tearing up at multiple points, completely sucked into the drama, riveted by the brutal, adrenaline-pumping MMA fight scenes, and pining for family reconciliation. Hardy and Edgerton flex more than their muscles on screen; each gives terse, heartbreaking, completely convincing performances as broken-down men struggling for redemption. You don’t have to no a lick about MMA to get hooked by the heavy emotional beats of the movie. Warrior is by no means a subtle movie, but it pushes all the sports genre buttons expertly, presenting a gratifying, affecting meat-and-potatoes drama that grown men are given permission to get weepy over.

Nate’s Grade: A-

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About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on December 30, 2011, in 2011 Movies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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