With the summer movie season officially wrapped, it's time to turn our filmgoing focus toward the generally more appealing fall fare. The first of this season's must-see movies is "Warrior" starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte, directed by Gavin O'Connor ("Miracle").
This film is about many things: honor, duty, love, family, but mainly it is the story of two brothers beaten down by bad luck and personal demons, who when left with no other options, enter a mixed martial arts tournament with the hope of being able to fulfill promises made to their loved ones. And O'Connor, who also co-wrote the film, pulled no punches (pun intended) in exposing audiences to the intense, gritty world of MMA.
Check out five reasons why this film is a must-see after the jump.
It Will Change The Way You Think About MMA Fighting
I know nothing about MMA, nor do I like watching it, but the way in which O'Connor weaved it into and around the story, you come away with an understanding and appreciation for the artistic elements involved in the sport.
For Tom Hardy, Superstar In The Making
Those who have seen Hardy in "Bronson," have been privy to a glimpse of the British actor's crazy talent. From his swagger to his stare to his silence, Hardy's intensity as the damaged, estranged brother and son Tommy is unnerving. Not to mention his total bad-assery as a take-no-prisoners fighter in the cage. It's the way he plays out the subtle, nuanced cracks in the character's hardened exterior that really get to you, however.
Grown Men Are Reduced To Tears
If I haven't already made this point clear, a warm and fuzzy movie, "Warrior" is not. It is an almost nonstop, adrenaline-fueled assault on your emotions, each and every one of them, which is why members of all audiences will be moved to tears. (I saw at least two men dabbing at their eyes and sniffing as they walked out of the two screenings I attended - yes, I had to see it twice.) When is the last time you heard of a film that moved grown men to tears?
Bear Witness To Nick Nolte's Soon-To-Be-Nominated Performance
I can't think of a film in which Nolte has turned in a finer performance. And frankly, who thought he had any greatness left in him? Not me. But wowza. Nolte just knocks it out of the park as the broken and dejected formerly alcoholic father to Hardy and Edgerton's characters. There is one particular scene so devastating that when it played out onscreen I immediately thought, 'I will be seeing this again in clip form come awards season.'
The Unconventional Ending
No spoilers here, I promise, but by the time you get to the climax of this film, you feel as though you've been through a fight yourself. Even if you think you know what's coming. And you won't, which is a beautiful thing. Roger Ebert wrote that "This is a rare fight movie in which we don't want to see either fighter lose," and he is absolutely correct (See: "Grown Man Are Reduced To Tears" from above).
"Warrior" is in theaters today, September 9.
Will you be going to see "Warrior?" Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!