Posted September 6, 2011 by Beth Webb - Events Editor in Films
 
 

Warrior


There’s something about the sheer size of Tom Hardy that could comfort Britain in the event of an alien invasion. Spanning the width of a small sofa, Hardy’s Tommy is muscle piled on muscle, a pout and a scowl as a tortured beast of a fighter, bearing scars of a turbulent upbringing and service in the marines.

There’s something about the sheer size of Tom Hardy that could comfort
Britain in the event of an alien invasion. Spanning the width of a small sofa,
Hardy’s Tommy is muscle piled on muscle, a pout and a scowl as a tortured beast
of a fighter, bearing scars of a turbulent upbringing and service in the
marines. Struggling at the other end of the scale is family man Brendan
(Edgerton) whose career as a physics teacher doesn’t fund his family life and
is forced to take to the ring to foot the bill.

Gavin O’Connor, whose last feature was 2008’s
Pride and Glory, makes no effort to avoid the clichés; if anything he embraces
them. The battling alcoholic father who has found God and is trying to right
his ways, the hard done by family man with eyes that constantly mirror those of
a lonely dog and the brutish shell of a guy that really does care deep down
have been churned through the movie machine countless times. The simplicity of
the narrative also lacks challenge; seeing as the sole focus of Warrior’s
trailer is the Conlon brothers locking fists, it’s inevitable that this is
where the film faces its final throws and you are unlikely to encounter any
plot twists.

There is something about this formula
though that screams solid, effective entertainment. There is no masking the
“oofs” and “ahs” of surrounding viewers as fists meet flesh. Tense sequences
are expertly handled and the choreography of the fights are exactly what you
need them to be; short, forceful blows for Hardy’s Tommy and unsure, lucky scrabbles
from Edgerton’s Brandon. The motives of both characters are simple enough not
to cloud the centre of the film; the glorious fight. Brendan needs money to
keep his house, Tommy wants to support the widow of his deceased best friend.
The onscreen chemistry between Hardy, Edgerton and Nick Nolte as their reformed father is spot on, gruff exchanges of
rationed words and a good dose of surly looks. Brendan’s wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison) is nothing more than
a driving force but still packs a pretty emotive show with tears and reassuring
squeezes of the arm.

The film is long but by submerging yourself
willingly into the tournament and the characters it doesn’t feel it. The
brothers separate training towards the main event are summed up in a montage
(another embrace of the genre) juxtaposing the sort of regimes that make you
want to amble down to your local leisure centre and it works to the film’s
credit to shove the narrative from introductions into the ring.

Hardy is without a doubt the driving force
of the film and not just because of the sheer size of the man. Having to double
his efforts to bridge the vocal and cultural gap, his is the only performance
that excels what is expected of the role. Every confrontation and the rare
tender moments have Hardy’s full weight behind them, pushing you to empathise
with the character so when the siblings finally square up in the ring you
really don’t know who you want to win even if Edgerton’s eyes make you want to
give money to orphans.

When the excitement of the film wears off,
it sets in that as a fight film, Warrior, with the exception of Hardy, doesn’t
surpass the genre. This is however the genre that has bought to the screen some
of the most iconic images in cinema, a handful of awards and countless fanatics
lifting their arms in the air at the top of a flight of stairs. Warrior
embraces uncomplicated emotions, tense, gripping fight sequences and
old-fashioned, can’t help but love ‘em characters. And it makes for great
cinema.


Beth Webb - Events Editor

 
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