Unfulfilling sports drama starring Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton
The underdog fighter with family issues is back in a big way this year. First came David O. Russell’s Oscar-winner The Fighter, and now writer/director Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory) delivers his challenger, a two-hour-plus, testosterone-rammed saga that boasts three very good performances but runs out of narrative steam long before the last dragged-out punch is thrown.
Warrior begins as a downbeat character drama, and O’Connor’s set-up is solid. Tom Hardy’s hulking and withdrawn Tommy turns up on the doorstep of his reformed alcoholic dad, Paddy (Nick Nolte), looking not for a reunion but training. Tommy could have been a mixed martial-arts contender, and he wants to be one again, but he’s still raging at Paddy’s past mistakes. Meanwhile, other estranged brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is running out of money to support his wife and kids, and is considering returning to the fights too. No prizes for guessing how the brothers will end up literally reconnecting with each other. Nolte is at his grizzly best, but the film devolves into seemingly endless brutal fight scenes, ultimately offering a dubious ‘violence solves all’ message that makes no sense and, ironically, creates little impact.
General release from Fri 23 Sep.