Although it will not be released until September 9 (you will have to wait for it), Warrior (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1291584/) will be talked about at awards time, another early contender. It is said to be Tom Hardy‘s break into stardom. Starring Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, and Nick Nolte. Hardy looks like Brando in his Waterfront days but on steroids and tattooed. You can enjoy the trailer here (http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi339320089/).
The film, presented at 2011 CinemaCon, is directed by Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory, Miracle) who also co-wrote the script. Forget The Fighter, this one delivers a one-two punch, straight to the chest! The added attraction is that the 2 brothers are not helping each other but contenders against each other.
Tom Conlon, the youngest son (Tom Hardy – the forger on Inception) of an alcoholic former boxer (well known actor Nick Nolte as Paddy Conlon – Expect a Best Supporting nod, if not award, for Nolte on this one) returns home from having served a stint with the USMC, and he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts (MMA) tournament, a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his older brother (Joel Edgerton who plays Brendan Conlon – you remember him from The Square, Kinky Boots and one of the voices in The Owls of Ga’Hoole): one fights for the money, the other to prove himself as a man. They both deliver a sterling performance that forces us to root for both brothers at the same time.
Superbly directed and acted, the film has action (filmed on location at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey) and pathos and is centered around Edgerton’s character, married with 2 young daughters who is a school teacher, loved by his students, retired from fighting for years when he comes in imminent danger of bank foreclosure on his home. Predictably, he has to find a way to make more money and fighting again seems to be his answer. The sub plots are the unpredictable parts that make this film so great and because it hasn’t aired yet, I am not giving it away either. Let’s just say that this one is worth a trip to the theatre.
The fighting looks as real as Wahlberg’s in The Fighter and it truly gets the audience excited. At the end, the whole audience broke out in spontaneous applause. I liked it enough to see it again and tell my friends about it. Another gem by production companies Mimran Schur Pictures, Lionsgate, and Solaris.
What is important about these films is that they are not made to make money which I hope this one does because it is exciting enough, but to extoll award nominations, several of them. That is why they are screened early and often and why this review comes out this early. You should have seen the taping of the audience reaction shots. Everyone liked the film, and everyone for a different reason: that, in my eyes, is a sure winner.
With a lot of help from my friends who so unselfishly give me their opinions after the screening, for The Examiner, this is Lily.