Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 08:51 Posted by Clash Friday, 09 September 2011 01:24
Film And DVD Reviews by Phil Boatwright
Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. Lionsgate. Drama. Written by Anthony Tambakis. Directed by Gavin O’Connor. 9/9/11
FILM SYNOPSIS: Though the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) is the backdrop, this emotionally intense drama focuses on the lives of a recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) and his two estranged sons (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton). Embittered by their father’s past drunken abusiveness, and having been separated as children, the two young men find it difficult to reunite in a family way when their father attempts to reconcile. They are a wounded, alienated family brought together by financial necessity, only to discover their true need – to find healing through forgiveness.
REVIEW: What are you willing to fight for? This is the poignant question left us by co-writer Anthony Tambakis (his first filmed screenplay) and writer/director Gavin O’Connor (Miracle). In this stark, earthy portrait of an injured family brought together through their one-time connection, mixed martial arts, the men are revealed as world-weary and nearly crushed by life’s turmoil. But each still has something left to fight for: the father, his sons; the eldest son, his home; the other, his soul. This is a film instance where sound and fury signify everything.
While melancholic in tone, its perception, its occasional humor, its three-dimensional portraits keep the audience engrossed. Each desperate for a resolve, these aren’t characters we just casually observe, but rather quickly come to care for and relate to. And though the bouts in the ring are as primal and kinetic as any I’ve ever seen on screen, the film’s ultimate energy exudes from the cast’s verbal and gestural tugs-of-war. The characters, like the sport portrayed, serve as metaphor. Their tale is a parable, a life lesson about the ultimate folly of an unforgiving heart.
Though our life situations may differ, it’s the story’s emblematic desperation, the characters’ need for love’s healing power, that viewers relate to. Even those of us spared the family unrest the film’s protagonists have had to survive find ourselves mindful of hidden hurts and overt fears that life never seems to run short of. And we realize while sitting in a dark theater, staring at the shadows of light before us, that people can’t just lie down for the count, but rather must continue this enigmatic battle called life. For me, Warrior is a spiritual reminder that I have the Trainer and Coach in my corner.
Gritty, poignant and relevant, Warrior may well be the best movie of the year.
WARNING: As you know from my past grievances concerning the misuse of God’s name in movies, I can point to many a production that handled similar subject matter without the cursing. Some may roll their eyes at my objection to the misuse of God’s name in any film. While others will no doubt object to my pointing out the film’s qualities despite this one objection. If you’ve drawn the line, declaring you won’t attend any movie if it contains profanity, well then, you’ve been informed.
PG-13: Content Summary
Obscene Language: Around 20 obscenities, and five or six minor expletives.
Profanity: Three or four profanities
Violence: Several mixed martial arts bouts, but not excessively or gruesomely portrayed.
Blood: A little blood.
Drugs: The father is a recovering alcoholic; drinking is portrayed as destructive.
Intended Audience: Mature viewers
For information about Phil Boatwright, go to moviereporter.com.
Profanity – God’s name followed by a curse or the abusive use of Christ’s name
Obscenity – a swear word, indecent language
Expletive – minor curse words such damn or hell
Crudity – vulgar, often coarse situations or dialogue dealing with bodily functions
Adult Subject Matter – situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children