‘Warrior’ DVD Review

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Cast: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte

Plot: Two estranged brothers are both return to the ring to partake in a UFC championship. One does so to save his house and family, the other in an attempt to make amends over an incident that occurred while fighting in the Middle East. Both must confront their relationships with each other and their father.

Review: What is the draw of fighting films? Whether it be boxing, wrestling or mixed martial arts it seems to become a popular context for a film-maker to build drama. Actors seem to be drawn to the physical challenge and audiences lap it up. One might’ve assumed that a real-life fight would be preferable instead of putting the barrier of acting being the viewing and the combat, yet even non-fight fans seem to love these movies.

Even with the recent successes of The Wrestler and The Fighter it would seem that audiences have not yet managed to get their fill of drama fueled bloodsports. There’s no denying that it’s a fitting metaphor, if a somewhat obvious one, for a character to show their inner turmoil, but with the number of films using this technique it is surprising that it’s still used.

Warrior does separate itself from the crowd to a degree due to the central conflict centering on the relationships between two of the fighters instead of one man overcoming their personal issues. This also ends a degree of welcome unpredictability as the outcome is never clear until later in the film. Both Hardy and Edgerton put in brilliant performances as the hinges of the story, with Hardy in particular revealing and unexpected vulnerability as the angry brother. The fact that he wasn’t Oscar nominated has been a point of contention for many during this years award season.

I'd be scared not to nominate him.

Although the fights are brutal and bloody the director does hold off on the visceral impacts until they are absolutely necessary. It’s for this reason that the story and the characters do transcend the arena and become believable people even though they’ve been put in such an extreme situation. At times the high-school-teacher-with-sick-child-and-overdue-mortgage arc for Edgerton borders on being a bit to contrived, but it all pans out in the end.

Score: NINE outta TEN