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Movie Reviews




Released: September 23rd 2011

Directed By: Gavin O’Connor

Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed By: Ben Harris

In recent years the sporting genre has got back on track with successful films like ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘The Fighter’. ‘Warrior’ walks familiar territory here but it is a much more superior film. It’s more gritty and intense with two leads delivering the best performances of their careers.

Tom Hardy plays Tommy Conlon, the youngest son of a recovering alcoholic former boxer (Nick Nolte). He’s an ex-marine who returns home where he asks his father to train him for a fight competition called Sparta. Sparta is a mixed martial arts tournament with a prize of five million dollars. Tommy’s brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), an ex-fighter himself, also returns to the sport after his family is struggling to keep up with payments and is soon to lose their home. The brothers don’t have much of a relationship and they refuse to rebuild their relationship with their father after his abusive past and alcoholism.

Like most sporting films ‘Warrior’ plays by the usual clichés leading up to it’s finale. However with a more brutal fighting style the film is fiercer. The camera work is brilliant here. It doesn’t show too much extreme violence but what you do see and hear is savage. Every fight is exciting to watch even when Tommy knocks a guy out cold in one hit. It’s shocking.

The fighting is impressive but what really makes ‘Warrior’ stand out is the emotional story running through it. What is the most touching and saddening detail in this story is the nonexistent relationship between father and sons. Nick Nolte gives a truly moving performance as a father trying to win back the hearts of his sons. He is determined to make his life better and be there for his sons and grandchildren. It’s heart wrenching seeing them pushing their father away when he has so much passion to give. Tom Hardy has never been in better shape and his character is terrifying. His stance and aggressive facial expression make him so fearful. Some scenes between Hardy and Nolte are fantastic. They are hard hitting scenes and they give ‘Warrior’ a more emotional edge. Joel Edgerton character has a lot more affection towards people and doesn’t have a tough guy persona. He’s the underdog in this tournament but is determined to fight for his place. Edgerton does well but is upstaged by his co-stars.

‘Warrior’ balances the drama and the fighting side of the story effectively. It may have not added anything to this genre but it’s brilliantly made thanks to director and writer Gavin O’Connor. It’s a powerful movie with a lot of heart.

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