Sunday 8 January 2012

Warrior [2011]

Hollywood loves coming up with good underdog stories where not just the odds are heavily against the protagonist’s inevitable victory, he also needs to overcome numerous obstacles and adversarial scenarios during the process; and contact sports make for compelling character studies with the brutal physicality juxtaposing against the emotional turmoil. Warrior is yet another reasonably compelling work in the ‘underdog’ sub-genre, with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) being the contact sport in question. Interestingly, this movie started off with two underdogs in the form of estranged brothers Tommy (Tom Hardy), an ex-Marine with troubled past, and Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a school teacher struggling to pay off his mortgages. Both are in need of money, and hence enlist themselves in an elite winner-takes-all MMA tournament. Given the predictable nature of the plot, it was but inevitable that the two brothers would meet each other in the final; but interestingly, well before their face-off takes place, it was easy to gauge on which of the two characters the director’s sympathy lies, thus essentially leaving us with one and not two underdogs – and by the time that realization dawned, it was easy to guess as to which of the two would win the championship. The predictable plot apart, the movie also suffers from rather bland character developments. Acting by the two leads, too, were unimpressive if not bad. What really made the movie engaging at the end of the day were the brooding atmosphere, the excellent depiction of working-class neighbourhoods, the angst-ridden storyline, and the superb performance by Nick Nolte as a former alcoholic and the estranged father of Tommy and Brendan.

Director: Gavin O'Connor
Genre: Drama/Sports Drama/Family Drama
Language: English
Country: US

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