Monday, March 19, 2012

Warrior Pummels You, Making You Root for both Protagonist , but Sometimes they beat the Message to Death

Warrior (3 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Gavin O'Connor (Tumbleweeds, Miracle)
Written by Gavin O'Connor, Anthony Tambakis, and Cliff Dorfman
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, and Nick Nolte

Warrior pummels you, making you root for both of the protagonist  but sometimes O'Connor beats the message to death.

The film follows two brothers who are battling their own familial, financial, and physical fights.  Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) shows up at his dad's home with a piece offering of whiskey.  Paddy Conlon (Nolte) refuses the gesture but invites his son who has not seen in years into his home.  Tommy has walked into his fathers life and into a gym only to beat a strong contender for the Sparta mixed martial arts competition.  Tommy soon becomes a huge youtube sensation, and as this video goes viral his 'brothers' fighting overseas see the video.  Tommy starts to train with his father for the competition.

As Tommy is battling his own familial demons with his father his brother Brendan a high school physics teacher battles with financial hardships.  Brendan starts to take fights in order to pay off payments for his house.  As he continues to push himself he goes to an old friend to start to train him to be a better fighter.  When his friends star fighter gets injured Brendan pushes himself to go to the very same competition his brother has entered.

The film sounds riddle with cliches, and there are moments when the film dives head first into the pit falls of the typical fight movies.  The main problem with the film is the script.  The team that wrote this script often slips into the familiar all too often, but then like underdog Brendan O'Connor they knock you out with some game changers.  The film's cliche drunken father is saved through the performance by Nick Nolte who embodies this sad sack dead beat dad with such pain and misery.  Nolte gives one of the most gut wrenchingly raw performances.

Even though its O'Connor who helped contribute to the screenplay his direction helps save the film; he provides some incredibly raw moments that make you go back and forth between rooting for the two brothers.  Who do you want to win?  The incredibly brilliant yet quiet Hardy who plays Tommy who vows his purse to a widow of his friend from the Iraq War.  Then there is Brendan the man who has fought his entire life for everything he has from his wife (Morrison) to his house, and even the opportunity to be in the ring at the end.O'Connor builds the tension with finesse and strong direction leaving you feel as though he accomplished some incredible feat.

No comments: