Friday, February 17, 2012
You remember the movie Rocky, where Sylvester Stalone’s character, Rocky Balboa, was given a chance at the title for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. It really wasn’t about winning the fight but was about proving to himself that he had self worth, value as a person, and that he wasn’t just another bum on the street corner. His quest was to go 15 rounds with the Champ. And, if he was still standing, it would validate his life.
We’ve seen this formula repeated time and time again with other fight films such as The Wrestler, The Karate Kid, Million Dollar Baby, and The Fighter. Now comes along a new movie, The Warrior, from Director Gavin O’Connor that honors the tradition of Rocky and other great fight films. The Warrior contains more emotion, conflict, truth, reality, and honesty than you can find in ten films combined. This film is utterly gripping, blunt, and powerful. It is relentless in the telling of the human condition.
Bottom line if you are looking for a film that connects on an emotional level and offers a heavy dose of reconciliation and redemption, then The Warrior fits the bill.
The movie is basically a story about two estranged brothers and their relationship with their alcoholic and abusive father. Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) is fresh out of the marines where in Afghanistan his best friend was killed in action.
As the story plays out, the other brother, Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgeton), lives in Philadelphia and teaches Physics at a local high school. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Tess (Jennifer Morrison). Brandan and Tess along with their children face financial difficulties due to medical bills and face foreclosure.
Brandan, a former UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter, is forced to pick up club bouts to make ends meet; however, this doesn’t play well with school administration. Unfortunately, Brandan is suspended without pay. After a series of events, Brandan is given an opportunity to fight in Sparta as well. This sets up a classic battle as the two brothers are on a collision course. But, more importantly, they are locked in an emotional battle with each other. There is a tremendous amount of blame concerning past events that cannot be forgiven. Tommy feels that his brother deserted him and their mother when Brandon decided to elope with Tess. Both brothers are also trapped in their relationship with their father.
I have always been a fan of Nick Nolte’s work. His performance of Paddy is brilliant. In fact, this is the type of role that Nolte excels in. His gravelly voice and broken facial features fit the part perfectly along with the fact that he is a man who’s seen it all. I’m utterly convinced he is a man who desperately wants to find God.
I highly recommend The Warrior. It may surprise you how well a fight movie can be so human and compassionate.
You can find the movie on DVD and Blu-ray.