|Still from Warrior|
Let me first start off by saying that I know v. little about Mixed Martial Arts. Warrior however from Pride & Glory Director Gavin O'Connor sure makes the it look exciting.
The gritty Sports Drama centers around two estranged Brothers, Brendan (Joel Edgerton) and Tommy (Tom Hardy), raised single-handedly by their abused and terminally ill Mother. Brendan abandons his Mother and Tommy at age 16, resulting in strife between the two Brothers. Meanwhile their non-present Father Paddy (Nick Nolte), a renowned Mixed Martial Arts Trainer, after several years of battling Alcoholism, turns his life around fully.
Tommy visits Paddy by surprise one day, harbouring much resentment still towards him. Paddy however is set on repairing his relationship with Tommy, agreeing to take him under his wings after Tommy makes it known he wishes to train as a Mixed Martial Arts Fighter.
Brendan now is a High School Physics teacher, who along with his Wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison) are struggling financially and on the verge of Foreclosure. Deciding to return to his roots as a former Fighter in helping ends meet, he is met with little understanding at his School. Despite Tess' reluctance, he then fully delves into training with the help of and old Friend Frank (Frank Grillo) who gets him into fighting form for the biggest test of his life. After being confronted by Paddy, he expresses little interest in reuniting with his Father.
With $5 million on-the-line in a highly-publicized Mixed Martial Arts Grand Prix, we see these two siblings' overcome the odds with two v. different journeys to Atlantic City. Brendan and Tommy cross paths for the first time in several years, but it is not a friendly reunion. Both Brendan and Tommy are brought together by Fate in the Fighting Ring in a tour de force showcase of Sibling Rivalry, where there can only be one Winner.
Something would be terribly wrong with the state of Cinema if both Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy are not made into major stars in the U.S. after Warrior sees its release. Both Actors pour every ounce of effort into their completely believable transitions into these Athletes. Hardy perpetually is a ticking Time Bomb who at once terrifying, also is undeniably intriguing. Edgerton despite being tested with a great range of emotion in his role, faithfully remains vulnerable to the spirit of Brendan and we find ourselves always rooting for Big Brother. Nolte packs a powerful punch here as a battle-worn Father who genuinely wants to make amends and his Hotel Room scene with Hardy is deeply resonant especially for anyone who has had a tough relationship with their Father.
Although technically its Story and Writing lack the level of detailing of say, David O. Russell's Oscar-garnering The Fighter, the tension felt here especially late in this ultimate Battle of Brothers will leave you trembling. The Warrior is gut-wrenchingly powerful and likely will argue its case as an early Best Picture Contender, hitting theatres September 9, 2011. Grade: A+