Brendan, the youngest son of Paddy, an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament — a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother Tommy.
IMDb – 8.3
RottenTomatoes – 83%
Warrior is about a family. Years ago, this family was tormented by the alcoholic father Paddy, played by Nick Nolte [Thin Red Line, 48 Hours]. Paddy, being a former boxer and marine, raises his two sons to be fighters, both being involved in wrestling as kids trained by their dad. When their abused mother decides to leave their father, however, Tommy [Tom Hardy] goes with her and is the only one with her when she dies, and Brendan [Joel Edgerton] stays with his father. This creates the rift between the two brothers that causes them not to interact for over a decade.
Read the rest of my review after the break.
In this time, Tommy joins the Marines and serves in the Middle East, and Brendan becomes a science teacher, gets married, and has two daughters. In the present, there is a huge, super-bowl like mixed martial arts competition that both brothers set their eyes on, both for different reasons. Tommy returns home to his father to train under him again, even though his grudge and disdain for his father remains. Paddy, 1000 days sober and trying to finally become a good man, accepts. Brendan, struggling to earn enough money as just a teacher, does fighting on the side, but it interferes heavily with his teaching job. His wife Tess [Jennifer Morrison], although scared for his well-being, supports Brendan’s decision to go for this big money opportunity. He employs the help of a long time friend who owns a gym and trains fighters, and our journey begins.
It is obvious minutes into the movie that these two brothers are going to fight each other. That is pretty easy to grasp, but what the viewer has a hard time trying to figure out is not only who is going to win, but who we want to win. Both brothers have a sympathetic story and reason they want to win. This is what sets Warrior apart from any other fighting movie I’ve seen. The ending is truly something you’ll have to see for yourself.
The story really is well done. A three headed monster of bad relationships that separated long in the past, all forced to come together and deal with each other to reach one goal. It’s unique and really special to have a head to head movie in which there is no real antagonist, no one that we want to fail. The direction is the of the simplest manner, something pretty common with the lesser known filmmakers, but it does well to just allow us to feel the story and witness the performances of these three men. With Hardy and Nolte shining a little brighter than Edgarton, these men really do their part in winning the affection of the audience. Some of the strongest performances I’ve seen this year.
Writer/director Gavin O’Connor, although probably going home this award season with few nominations and even fewer wins, has really outdone himself. I have no seen any of his previous work, but I guarantee that I will see whatever else this man makes, and will probably view most all of his other work in the near future. This movie has really made an impression on me, and I really hope that I can get others to hop on my bandwagon.
4/4 – Warrior is not your typical fighting movie. I mean, it is, but it isn’t. With the underdog, rags to riches elements that you’ll find in most any other fighting film, you are also given a heartfelt family drama. One of the best original stories this year combined with some of the better performances of the year, this is a story with an ending you know about from the beginning, but one you must see to believe.