Movies to watch before you die: The case of Warrior (2011)
I have seen a YouTube comment which perfectly captured what I have been subconsciously thinking when I finished watching this film
Warrior is the Titanic equivalent for men.
Now before you all go feminazi on me, it's not like this film will not make females cry. It's just a different experience for men. Especially if they have male siblings. It does not matter if you are the older or the younger one. 90% of you are going to at least have watery eyes when you finish this film. Now, let's dig in and explore why this movie deserves your vieweing before your inevitable death.
Warrior was released in 2011 and it stars Tom Hardy (Bane from Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception and many more), Joel Edgerton (Star Wars Prequels, Red Sparrow, The Kind) and Nick Nolt (Tropic Thunder, Hulk (2003)). It is directed by Gavin O'Connor who directed the action film The Accountant and another sports film called Miracle.
Let me just say this from the beginning. The Warrior's plot is not something exceptional or something that makes it stand out from other sports, boxing or fighting films. This will be discussed later.
The plot of Warrior follows two brothers that have been estranged from very long back due to the divorce of their parents, something that occured due to their fathers' alcoholic and abusive nature. Consequently, while Tommy (Tom Hardy) has gone with his mother, his older brother Brendan has stayed with his father due to him having a connection with his girlfriend,turned wife.
During the 15 years of estrangement, each brother has followed his own path. While Tommy has gone to the U.S Marines and got out a hero, Brendan followed a more stereotypical way of life. He is a high-school physics teacher who has a loving family of two daughters and a beatiful wife. Oh, and he also fought in the UFC but is now retired.
However, he is still fighting in small parking lot fights to make ends meet and ensure a good living for his family.
It is important to say that not everthing is as it seems. Both brothers are fighting mentally for something more. Tommy is facing his own demons in the form of PTSD where his anger gets the better of him while Brendan is drowning in debt due to risky financial advices and bills where he had to pay to save his daughter's life. These lead to both brothers to follow a path of fighting for different aspirations; Tommy to numb his way into existence and Brendan to ensure his home does not get confiscated from the bank.
As a result, Tommy reconnects with his father who was his trainer during his early days while Brendan joins a gym with his old trainer (Frank Grillo). As you may have understood from now, this leads to them joining a Tapout tournament named Sparta where 16 contestants take part in. From then, the movie takes on and I will not spoil anything for you.
Now, the analysis.Why should this sports-drama get your attention?
Performances and characters
As I have mentioned above, the plot does not carry this movie. It has been done again many many times. However, the added twist of two estranged brothers joining the tournament give this movie a new emotional weight. The performances and the characters make Warrior the masterpiece that it is. Tom Hardy as Tommy is astonishing since you can see his inner fight with his demons and you can see that this guy is seriously mentally hurt. He has been through hell and he shows it. Fighting is his way of lashing out and letting all his furious punches show his internal scars. He does not care about fame, he does not care about winning, he cares about letting his anger out.
On the other hand, Brendan is fighting for survival. Its either winning or staying homeless. He carries the weight of his family's entire existence on his shoulder. He either wins or he loses everything.
Moreover, the estrangement aspect and the arc of their father allows for beautiful and emotional scenes which show the viewer the complicated nature of forgiveness and how difficult it is to do. If you want to experience the emotional punch that is coming your way, give the following scene a watch.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT. WATCH THE SCENE AT YOUR OWN RISK
The characters' rawness allows for many emotional punches which I will not show any gif right now for apparent reasons.
More than one perspective
The build of both characters' perspective allows for a deeper exploration of the characters' psyche. Furthermore, the movie draws from real life and resists the temptation to follow the stereotypical cookie cutter plot of a fighting movie. While the viewer can easily acknoledge how the movie will be built from the initial premise, the director does not shy away from building both characters almost to an equal amount. This means that there is no single protagonist. Just like real life. It can be claimed that when everyone is a main character, nobody is. And in our head, we all are the protagonists in our existence. The movie draws from this and presents the viewer with both characters' motivations, backstories and inner demons. As a result, this characteristic of the film helps it walk away from the majority since there is no clear hero or protagonist (one can claim that Tom Hardy's character is kind of a broken anti-hero).
The third act
The movie's third act is a powerful one. All the slowburn of the movie finally pays of in the third act where emotions are overflowed through a fight in the ring. The viewer can simply comprehend both the physical and mental stakes that are at hand. While you expect to see the final clash between two MMA fighters, you are reminded that you are viewing the journey of two estranged brothers who have been forced by society to partake in a violent sport for their own different agendas. I will not dig deeper since I think I have already given out many of the details of the plot.
Have you watched Warrior? If yes, what did you think about it? Send me a message and let's analyze it together.
If you have not, give it a watch and tell me if I got the review right or not.