Friday, September 2, 2011

Movie Recommendation: Warrior

WARRIOR is actually not due in theaters until September 9th, but I was one of the lucky few that snagged a pair of advance screening tickets. I figured it was only fair that I write a little something to promote the film, especially since it was-- in my opinion-- the best movie of the summer (or the first great flick of the fall depending on how you look at it).

WARRIOR is about Tommy Riordan (Hardy), an ex-marine, and his estranged brother, Brendan (Egerton), who is a physics high school teacher. Both were amazing fighters in their earlier lives, and have chosen very different paths due to their dysfunctional childhood. Their father (Nolte), once an abusive alcoholic-- caused his wife (Tommy and Brendan's mother) to leave. The split was devastating as it forced the brothers to each make a choice-- Tommy leaving with his mother and Brendan staying behind. Years later and still bitter, Tommy decides to pay a visit to his father, who is a recovering alcoholic. He relcutantly asks his father to be his trainer for an upcoming MMA Fighting Championship competition, and makes it abundantly clear that this is NOT a chance for his father to try to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Brendan, married with 2 little girls, is having financial problems and only has 90 days to come up with a solution or else he and his family will lose their home. He begins to train with a former friend/trainer of his and when the opportunity arises to enter into the same competition that his brother is preparing for, he takes it...

Initially I wanted to see WARRIOR because of the interesting choice of actors. I became an instant fan of Tom Hardy after seeing the mind blowing Inception last year and Joel Edgerton caught my interest awhile back as Gawain in King Arthur. And lets not forget acting legend Nick Nolte. I figured it had to be somewhat decent with that kind of cast lineup. What surprised me more than the cast was the story. I guess I wasn't prepared to walk into a movie about MMA fighting and walk out with a few tears in my eyes. Hell, I am not ashamed to admit that I did cry at more than 1 part. No, let me say it like this. I started watching WARRIOR thinking it was a movie about fighting but coming out knowing its message was about family.

WARRIOR is a lethal weapon. It has all the components of a great movie-- solid storyline, heart-felt acting, top notch directing. Oh and for those whom are worried that there isn't enough fighting? You won't be disappointed. The movie somehow balances out the drama with brutal action sequences and the better half of the film is focused on how each brother trains (very differently I might add) and of course the big MMA tournament.

If this movie doesn't get an Oscar nod I'll be very disappointed. I may get crucified for this comment but in my personal opinion this movie was BETTER than The Fighter of last years fame. I know there are differences between the films; Christian Bale was absolutely amazing and deserved his Oscar. But there is something about WARRIOR that tugged on the heartstrings a little more. I know I'm probably asking for too much to see both the movie and actors recognized for their phenomenal work, but I hope to see Hardy, Egerton, and/or Nolte nominated for something.

UPDATE 2.26.12: I just wanted to leave this little update. While the movie Warrior did not get nominated for an Academy Award, Nick Nolte did snatch a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He of course didn't win, but at least the movie was recognized in this small way. I still can't believe this is all Warrior walked away with. :-/

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