Sunday, January 8, 2012

Movie Review: Warrior

Fight To The Dual

       "Warriors, come out to pla-i-ay." From one cult film with the connotation of a man devoted to war to what surely is destined to be another, Warrior is a sterling exhibition, and most important, a heartfelt example of a film that embraces multidimensional composition. Guilty of an inopportune release date (after the enormous bounty of praise given to The Wrestler and The Fighter) Warrior establishes its champion custodian of direction, Mr. Gavin O'Connor as a vital resource in American cinema; a director whose chief talents insinuate a very basic understanding of humanity. O'Connor weaves gut-wrenching emotion into a gripping, embattled tapestry of duality, pieced together by men, equal part martial artist and pugilist, whose primal pursuit in life involves barbaric bouts of manhood. O'Connor's weighty suggestions of dual purpose—mythical vs. reality, hardship vs. romance, style vs. substance, home vs. away—underscore his film's greatest triumph: An uncompromising awareness of the human condition, revealing, unsuspectingly, a fragile dichotomy.
      Warrior is an impulsive drama bolstered by thunderous action sequences and, most striking, an agile tonal resolve; moments of intimacy intersect epic engagements, silence supersedes bluster. An undercurrent of desperation reverberates discriminately. Some viewers, I suspect, may find such routine anguish unbearable. I, for one, found it riveting. For Warrior never disassociates from its bleak atmosphere. A "Who-is-the-Toughest-Kid-on-the-Block" Greek-themed tournament distinguishes the third act precisely in this vein: One grief-stricken veteran of war wanders amok while another primary combatant moves with steady, self-assured focus. Echoing this conflicting emotional affectation is Mark Isham's score. Film emphasizes the temporal potency of music and Isham's score, acknowledging this creed, conveys emotional depth with distinct rigor.  
      The acting is top-notch. Tom Hardy is a forceful performer whose articulations, fierce or tender, demonstrate tonal versatility, a rare quality that will ensure his longevity. Joel Edgerton, whom I first discovered in the spellbinding Aussie crime-drama, Animal Kingdom, is a formidable co-star, and like Hardy, tantalizingly close to achieving immense global acclaim. Edgerton's performance acumen, distinguished by sincere gestures and vigorous intimations, unearths a talent fearlessly robust. But the best acting in Warrior is displayed by the surly, authoritative old-timer, Nick Nolte. His penetrating, distinctive voice, coloring a canvas of sadness and regret, commands steadfast attention while his forceful expression, emanating electricity, mesmerizes throughout. His final, passing shot is, in no uncertain terms, magnificent.
      Ultimately, Warrior is triumphant because the fighter's soul drives the action; not the scorecards. Bound by instinct and resolve and motivated by a greater good, courageous, conscientious men, with negligible imperfections, walk among us every day. Warrior emphasizes this truism with inspiring, exciting gusto. Cliched moments occasionally surface, but never to insult our intelligence. Handled with delicate precision and affixed with firm pacing, O'Connor's sports-drama succeeds because of adroit attention to detail. Nurturing a moral message, mobilized by bleak and brutal circumstance, O'Connor's Warrior intimates one essential universal insight: Morality is besieged, on an intemperate basis, by an opposing struggle between innocence and corruption.

9 out of 10


  1. I didn't think it was as good as last year's The Fighter, but it was a solid and very emotional sports movie. The fight scenes were fantastic as well. If Nick Nolte does not get nominated for best actor in a supporting role in 2012 Oscars, I'm gonna kill every single one of the Academy members. LOL.

    Brilliant review!

  2. Great review! I've got to agree with you, Nick Nolte was brilliant in this one. Even if the two brothers in the front got all the attention from the audience and the critics, he subtly stole away every scene he was in.

    The Warrior was one of those movies that really threw me. I felt like it shouldn't have worked--the premise was kind of predictable and we were all still tired of the brothers fighting thing after The Fighter. But...somehow...this film still managed to pull every emotional chord. And not in a "groan, here comes the sap" kind of way, but rather in a "I'm not crying, I've just got popcorn in my eye" kind of way. It was just a good, solid movie.

  3. I've been on the fence about this, but I may just have to give it a try after such a terrific review.

  4. I am amazed at the comeback of Tom Hardy - not sure many remember that his initial splash was as the villain in the last old school Star Trek movie pre-JJ Abrams - Star Trek Nemesis - in which Tom played a rather unconvincing clone of Patrick Stewart. He didn't leave a very good impression at the time - and now here is back in the last couple of years - not only toplining really big productions - but playing a big old tough guy in a lot of them! Who'da thunk?

    I'm sure this one will be unspooling before my eyes at some point - great review, Mr. V!

  5. Fantastic review as always!!! I must say I was hesitant to see this because I thought it was, not a copycat but a similar version of The Fighter. However, I have heard amazing things so I have been meaning to see this. Man I was really behind in 2011, geez. Anyways, placing my initial ignorance aside I will see this soon. : )