Saturday, January 28, 2012

Under 250: Warrior

While watching Tom Hardy snap and snarl and pace about in the cage like a man possessed, you will be overcome by a realization: that man is a badger.  It's alarming, actually, how thoroughly he seems to embody the animal, right down to the shape of his eyes and nose.  I hadn't noticed it before, but I can't unsee it now.  If they were to make a live-action adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, I would hope that they'd cast Hardy in his dashing Inception mode as Mr. Badger.  There would be no finer choice.  While that may not sound like a resounding endorsement of Warrior, in a way, it is.  The film follows the incongruously congruent paths of two estranged brothers as they train for an MMA tournament to win a large cash prize each of them desperately needs for very different reasons.  Hardy is the more brutish of the two. He's mysterious, snappish and anti-social where his brother (Joel Edgerton) is a struggling physics teacher and family man.  While the climactic moments of Warrior may be predictable at the outset, the lack of familial glue holding the Conlon brothers and their ex-alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) together adds a rogue element into what would be an otherwise textbook 'boxing'-type film.  Strong performances and excellent, lively fight choreography make Warrior an unquestionable success with a weirdly emotional wallop as your allegiances are built for each of the brothers, both of whom are wild card underdogs in their own right.

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