With the inundation of movie remakes and lack of fresh movie ideas, I was pleasantly surprised when I went I saw a trailer back in early January of this year for Warrior. Yes, one can see this as just another sports movie. However, it is more than that. The movie uses the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and the city of Pittsburgh & Atlantic City as characters in this dysfunctional family drama.
The movie takes place in is about two estranged brothers. One brother, Tommy, (played by Tom Hardy) comes back from the Middle East. We initially see him sitting on the steps of his recovering alcoholic father’s (played by Nick Nolte) step. There is tension, disgust, hatred from Tommy towards his dad, but his dad decides to take Tommy into his home because he hopes to start new. We do not know of Tommy’s storyline until about halfway into the movie and that is just only half of his backstory we learn. We finally get the full story (I will not spoil it here) with about 30 minutes left in the film. When we find out Tommy’s whole story it is not only noble & gut-wrenching, but we feel sorry for him & want him to win.
However, his brother Brendan has his own family drama. Brendan at the age of 16 decided not to go with his brother and mother after she left his father. Their father used to be an abusive alcoholic, but is now recovering and living on the straighten arrow. Tommy has pretty much disowned Brendan as his brother because he felt abandoned by him. Now that Brendan is older, he is now a teacher that has a family of his own that he adores and loves. But this is not the perfect family picture. Sure he loves them, but they are finding themselves with a huge financial problem. We first see Brendan sitting in front of a loan officer getting the new that he is “upside down” on his mortgage and faces losing his house if he can’t come up with the money. This is not an uncommon problem today in America so we instantly feel sorry for this hardworking man, who lies to his wife about his 2nd job. He tells his wife he is a bouncer at a club/bar to earn extra money. However, he has returned to the ring to fight. He hopes to win $500 a fight to bring in some cash flow. When she finds out that this is the only way to try and save their home she reluctantly agrees to him fighting. She refuses to watch because he was nearly killed from an MMA fight in the past.
Their dad, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) is a recovering alcoholic who used to abuse their mother. Both sons despise him, but Tommy needs him to train him because Paddy was his high school wrestling coach. “It was the one thing you were good at,” Tommy says. Brendan despises his dad for not only hurting his mom and the drinking, but he also feels his dad favored Tommy. He never felt that his dad loved him or saw potential. So Brendan was always trying to prove he can be good. He looked for acknowledgement as a good son when he was younger and as an adult. We can see from just this that there is so much animosity between the brothers feeling like they abandoned each other, their dad being an abusive drunk, and sibling favoritism that this movie will be one big DRAMZ!!!!
The city backdrops also play a character. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (Brendan lives there) aren’t the glamorous urban lifestyle that is Manhattan. They are the working man cities. This shows that people are the blue collared “get ‘em done” type of people. When they go to Atlantic City, you can see the Glam & Glitz of the show. This adds to the great story line.
There isn’t a lot of fighting in the beginning of the movie, but when it moves to Atlantic City for the big showdown, the fighting is intense and I evenfound myself jumping out of my seat like some spectator at an old Roman gladiator event. Just from that intensity, I can see how MMA was used as a character. The sport is not some brutal bloodbath, but it’s an intense yet serene thinking man sport.
This movie opened up on September 9, 2011 in America. I saw this movie on my birthday and was pleasantly surprised on how emotional it was. There was so much emotional pull and tugs at the heart between Brendan’s story, Tommy’s story, Paddy’s story, individually but when they interact that story is even more heartbreaking. You can see the hurt that was caused from years before. Since it’s opening, the movie has only brought in over $10 million. I don’t know if it was lack of marketing, but this is a movie that will be up for major awards; acting, directing, script, cinematography. Tom Hardy proves he is not just the hot guy from Inception, but he is a great method actor. His next films include The Dark Knight Rises and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (please watch the trailer for this). Nick Nolte redeems his career with this role. Joel Edgerton (virtually unknown) will star in the Thing prequel, Killing of Osama Bin Laden and Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby.
So do yourself a HUGE favor, go out and see this movie. This is not just a movie for guys but women will love it too. Not just because of the greatstory and pretty sexy action, but for a superficial sexiness of the hard bodies. Tom Hardy has now come onto my radar as one of the Sexys in my book. He now joins Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, and Jason Isaacs.