sexta-feira, dezembro 23, 2011

Warrior (2011)



Warrior (2011) is a critically acclaimed action-drama directed by Gavin O'Connor starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte.

Having met the director through the movie Pride & Glory (2008), I must admit I was a bit reluctant due to the fact that I was expecting great things from his 2008 project, with lead actors Edward Norton and Colin Farrel, only to be hugely disappointed. However, even without reading the reviews - thus avoiding getting a sense of what to expect - I knew the response towards Warrior was good!

After watching it two nights ago, it came as no surprise! It's absolutely brilliant and unless something comes up during the remaining days of 2011, Warrior will certainly make its way into this year's podium (my personal one, that is)!

First of all, let me start by advising people to watch this movie with an open mind and to put aside the fact that its around the martial art world.

Forget that!

The first thing I wrote on the social networks was that "more than a good fighting movie, this is a great movie. Period." It truly is an outstanding piece of work that uses, what you would say, an action plot to present the audience a more human and emotional storytelling around two estranged brothers and their father. Between these three, you divide one story into various sub-plots, focusing on the relationship between each others and their individual background outside their family history.

Obviously, you have plenty of (excellent) fighting sequences, but the way it gets you involved with the characters is absolutely remarkable. By witnessing their damaged relationships and how they make emends into reconstructing their family ties, while struggling with their past and (also) present, its just amazing! In fact, while I'm writing this, one of the first compliments that pops into mind is that the movie has a lot of heart! It really does!

Get past the fact it has a few cliches... To certain extant, I would think its fair to say it comes with the territory when you approach a movie of this genre. You might feel like you have seen this before... But think again! It makes you twist and turn, it makes you hold your breath and react to every single fight, gesture or dialog! Even considering you know almost every outcome, at least until the very end which is totally unpredictable... you still can't avoid being disturbed sometimes while experiencing the pain and suffering on-screen or in other times just getting a big kick out of it!

That's what happens when you feel the plot is somehow close to your heart in terms of the emotions that it can bring out from you... It also helps to have very nicely built characters for you to feel for, but, there is something it needs to be said (under my perspective) in terms of how you appreciate both leads.

Prestigious movie critic, Roger Ebert wrote:
"This is a rare fight movie in which we don't want to see either fighter lose".

Although I'm slightly inclined to agreeing with this because I'm very fond of both Tom and Joel's characters, the fact is, from the get go I stood alongside with Brandon (Edgerton), simply because he came out as a standout guy who demonstrates to be the more likable and emotionally balanced of both of them. Put into the mix the fact he's considered to be the underdog and you have my reasons for taking his side and rooting for him. But yes... I would probably say that, whatever the outcome might be, its bound to please the audience!

Between all three of the actors that deserve the most recognition... let me raise a few points or make a few predictions.

Tom Hardy is easily becoming one of Hollywood's brightest stars! Since he took over the role of Bronson, the legendary British prisoner, in Nicolas Winding Refn movie, he then started gaining more attention moving on into having roles in other films such as RockNRolla (2008), Inception (2010), Tinker Taylor Tiny Soldier (2011) or the upcoming Dark Knight Rises (to be released in 2012).
Fantastic method acting, with great presence and charisma, he's turning into a crowd favorite!

Joel Edgerton, I know very little about... Having seen only one of his movies it would be insufficient to make a clear and credible evaluation of his career and skills... But the movie that I saw was no ordinary one! Animal Kingdom (2009) came for me as one of the year's best and gain a spot among my elite collection of DVDs!
Joel Edgerton will increase his star power over the years...

Last, but not least... Nick Nolte!

He came to me as a big surprise since I wasn't expecting him to give such a powerful performance. His acting was absolutely superb, having most of the moving/intense scenes under his command!
Portraying an alcoholic trying hard to overcome his addictions while fighting ghosts living in his conscious, you can not help yourself into sympathizing with him and wishing that he obtains forgiveness from the ones he loves.
Having been let known by the director that he carries a dark past, you still sense he genuinely regrets the mistakes he made both as a Husband and a Father! 

Come to think about some of the scenes that gave him more prominence in this feature, the ones where he shares the screen with each of his sons are clearly the most remarkable. This lead me to think I have a soft spot for Father/Son moments, since some of the most mesmerizing moments in cinema - according to my taste/opinion - are family related. Robert Downey Jr. and Chazz Palminteri in A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (2006) and Tom Cruise with Jason Robards in Magnolia (1999) are just two (epic) examples of what I'm talking about!

Regarding my predictions around Nolte, I believe he will gain an Oscar nomination for his incredible role! I know this might come as a risky statement since he wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe, but nevertheless, the Academy will surely recognize his work, fully deserving of the highest praise, specially considering some of us (me included) thought his career had no possible comeback! I have no shame admitting this proved me to be incredibly wrong...
I will become terribly disappointed if a spot among the nominees isn't granted to Nick Nolte, something that will eventually will lead me to think that Jury are simply ignorant and blunt!

Having said this, I would like to conclude by reminding all of you to keep in mind the subjects that the film focuses on! Through action (more specifically Martial Arts) you get really deep into themes such as redemption, forgiveness and will power! I could not be more supportive with this truly magnificent feature, that has just set the bar for the action-drama genre!


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