ok i really liked that frank / brendan’s coach dude
but then when he said “YOU POPPED HIS SHOULDER? GOOD NOW POP THE OTHER ONE”
turned into hate
and then i cried
‘I popped his shoulder. I heard it tear.’
‘You popped his shoulder? Good. I want you to pop his other shoulder.’
Warrior doesn’t have the range, the surprise, the messy originality of that other brothers-in-the-ring movie, The Fighter. But it has a rich, classical Hibernian gloom, and the brutality is an extension of the brothers’ inner turmoil: Tom must wreak vengeance, Brendan must be beaten down before he can rise. O’Connor makes the violence truly cathartic — the only way for two men to break through and reach each other. The movie leaves you a wreck — yet pumped.
Title: Warrior (USA, 2011) ★★★★ (out of 5)
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte
Date Viewed: September 9, 2011
Summary: The youngest son (Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer (Nolte) returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother (Edgerton).
I am not a big fan of sports movies, and I generally do not actively seek them out. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally enjoy them, though - take last year’s “The Fighter”, for example. So all the critical praise for “Warrior”, (along with the fact that it features one of my favorite actors, Tom Hardy) made me decide that I was indeed excited to see it. Off I went to the theater on opening day, entering with a preconceived set of expectations based off of the trailer – a couple of hulk-headed dudes, a classic underdog formula with some sprinklings of family drama and a nice, happy, predictable ending.
In a way, I suppose “Warrior” did meet all of those expectations, as well as many other sports movie clichés. Yes, there was a very clear underdog story. Yes, there was lots of family drama. And yes, there was a predictable and (sort of) happy ending. But the difference between “Warrior” and some cheesy sports flick was the way these clichés were executed on top of incredible performances by the whole cast (Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte, especially). The family dynamics were far beyond what I was expecting - so painful and beautifully brought out by the actors. Tom Hardy’s character, Tommy, was especially amazing - isolated, emotionally damaged, and ruined by war. I was extremely emotionally invested in the characters, and the ending just killed me.
Maybe it’s because I’m a sappy person (a bunch of bros in the theater were whooping and cheering while I sobbed miserably in my seat), but I think the most incredible thing about “Warrior” is the fact that you can’t root for just one of the brothers; you root for both of them, so the inevitable fact that one of them must lose the winner-take-all final was just devastating to me. The film was very difficult to watch (lots of brutal beatings and emotional distress), the first half of the movie dragged, there were serious pacing issues, and it felt a little long overall - but the ending made everything worth it. I loved the ending so much that I ended up seeing it twice in one day – first in a standard theater, and again at a theater with a larger screen and enhanced sound (so, so intense, and I ended up crying twice as hard). I’m not saying that “Warrior” is a perfect movie, because it’s not, but by my standards for a sports movie, it comes pretty darn close.
Spoilers after the cut!
À bout portant (Point Blank) - September 4, 2011 Saw this on Septemer 4, 2011
Fred Cavayè || Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zern
“Point Blank” is going to indulge my guilty action flick pleasure – lots of pursuits, chases, and plenty of bang-bang to go around. All in French, too!
Contagion - September 9, 2011
Steven Soderberhg || Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow
I was wary of “Contagion”, especially since its large all-star cast reminds me of other unpleasant attempts to bring together big groups of famous names (erm, “Valentine’s Day”, anyone?). But then again, this cast is actually talented, and I’m excited to see a new Soderberhg film.
Warrior - September 9, 2011 Saw this on September 9, 2011. Read my rating here.
Gavin O’Connor || Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte
Not a huge fan of MMA/UFC or sports movies in general, but there is something awfully compelling about the trailers for “Warrior”. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a sucker for family dramas, or maybe it’s because it’s bound to be a feel-good movie. Or maybe it’s just Tom Hardy. I don’t know. I’ve heard amazing things about the performances of Hardy and Nick Nolte, so I definitely will not be missing this one.
Drive - September 16, 2011 Saw this on September 16, 2011. Read my rating here.
Nicolas Winding Refn || Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan
I was never a big Ryan Gosling fan. However, I did enjoy his performances in “Lars and the Real Girl” and “Blue Valentine”, so for that reason, I am really rooting for him in “Drive”. I’ve loved Nicholas Winding Refn’s past work, so I don’t expect “Drive” to be anything short of amazing. It also doesn’t hurt that the movie was produced by an alumnus of my school, yeah!
Moneyball - September 23, 2011
Bennett Miller || Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Once again, I’m not too big on sports movies. “Moneyball”, though, looks smart and just has this nostalgic, classic feel to it that I can’t refuse.
50/50 - September 30, 2011
Jonathan Levine || Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston
I’m a huge sucker for dramadies, and 50/50 seems like a great one - the trailer was already enough to make me feel like laughing and crying at the same time. Seth Rogen is the king of my heart, and the fact that he and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are working together makes me way more excited than I should be.
What’s Your Number? - September 30, 2011
Mark Mylod || Anna Faris, Chris Evans
I’m not sure if anyone can top Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids”, but if there’s one person who can, it’s gotta be Anna Faris. “What’s Your Number” seems like it could be either (a) disastrously stupid, or (b) amazingly hilarious. Keeping my fingers crossed for the latter!
Dream House - September 30, 2011
Jim Sheridan || Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts
I normally don’t like horror movies, but as a big Daniel Craig fan, I am willing to put my aversion for scary stuff aside. To be completely honest, the trailers don’t look so promising, but it’s still got a bit of a “Shutter Island” feel that I’m not going to ignore.
Tower Heist - November 4, 2011
Brett Ratner || Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe
Hey guys, remember when Eddie Murphy used to be really, really funny? Here’s hoping that “Tower Heist” is gonna be his comeback! Also, who would say no to Casey Affleck and Gabourey Sidibe?
J. Edgar - November 9, 2011
Clint Eastwood || Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer
The director and cast alone are enough to make me more than happy to check out this biopic. Leo’s always had a knack for playing disturbed and controversial historical characters, both fictional and non-fictional (Howard Hughes? Frank William Abagnale Jr.? Romeo?), and I’m excited to see his portrayal of one of my personal favorite historical figures, J. Edgar Hoover.
A Dangerous Method - November 24, 2011
David Cronenberg || Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen
Viggo as Freud and Fassy as Jung in psychology’s biggest and best bromance, what could be better? The trailers look both smart and sexy, especially with such a talented cast.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - December 9, 2011
Tomas Alfredson || Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt
It’s as if the someone crawled into my brain and fished out the names of my favorite actors when casting this film! I’ll admit that I have no knowledge of the original “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” book or TV show, but everything about the film just sounds – and looks – gorgeous.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - December 21, 2011
David Fincher || Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig
I’ve read the book and I’ve seen the Swedish version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, but I don’t doubt David Fincher’s ability to meet – and surpass – a bar that’s been set astronomically high. The trailer’s also a big selling point for me – nothing short of amazing.
Premium Rush – January 13, 2011
David Koepp || Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Jamie Chung
Even without a lot of material to work with (no trailers! no interviews!), I have serious doubts about this movie, I really do. But as someone whose list of dream jobs include “bicycle messenger”, “Premium Rush” is a must-see. (edit: The trailer for “Premium Rush” was released with “Drive” on September 16. Looks pretty silly, but I shall be seeing it nonetheless.)