Warrior appeared out of nowhere and the fact that it starred Tom Hardy was reason enough to throw caution to the wind by heading to the cinema to see a film without so much as watching the trailer beforehand. I will admit that by the time I got there interest had waned dramatically and if Jurassic Park had been showing around the same time I would have made a pretty strong case to go and see it instead.
PLOT: Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) returns home to his violent alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte) to receive his help in training for a winner takes all in an MMA cage fighting tournament. Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) Tommy’s estranged brother also enters the competition in order to stop the bank from repossessing his family’s home. There are brothers with brother issues. There are sons with father issues. There is a son with mother issues. There is a split screen training montage. There are several very real fight scenes within the cage. Kurt Angle shows up and beats the holy hell out of Brendan. There is anger and family drama. There are several more very real fight scenes. There are tears and stress during the last 20mins and that is just from me. END PLOT
The plot of Warrior is very strong and plays out like a true story biopic despite being entirely fictional. It does tend to follow the traditional beats of all sports films in existence right down to the extending training montage although this is only a minor quibble for the sake of finding one.
The cast are all unfaultable with Hardy and Edgerton putting in fantastic performances both inside and outside of the cage. Hardy’s performance is as closed off as Edgerton’s is open and although Warrior has been billed as Hardy’s big break out film Edgerton more than deserves equal credit.
Tommy and Brendan’s bout in the cage when the pent up emotion which had been bubbling underneath Hardy’s performance finally spills out will definitely be in contention for the most heartbreaking scene of the year.
There is very little music throughout the film with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Brendan’s training music, being the only repeating theme. The lack of score makes the performances of the cast stand out even more as there are no rising violins to help pull the emotional punches.
Everything about Warrior is so strong that it has managed to render The Fighter completely unwatchable and makes it look like a bust up in a playground. It has made me despise Christian Bale’s overacting Oscar stealing performance even more and that is a feat which I never thought could be possible. The Dark Knight Rises is going to be very interesting indeed………
Warrior turned out to be a major surprise as I went from not caring to being completely invested in the characters and despite initially complaining about the two hour running length I was in no rush for the film to end. Warrior gets a 9/10. The only disappointing thing is that The Fighter was released first.