I will admit–I was surprised by Warrior. I was not impressed with the trailer and thought it revealed too much (TMI rises its head again)–so, I went in expecting to be mildly entertained. Instead I was so invested I was cheering! And although the themes and elements may be recycled material–the execution feels fresh and it works.
The majority of the credit goes to the cast–Tom Hardy continues to impress–Joel Edgerton is perfect–they are believable as brothers that have taken different paths and are headed towards a collision course. The supporting cast is strong–with a special shout out to Frank Grillo as Edgerton’s trainer–I loved their relationship. But the stand out performance belongs to Nick Nolte. He delivers a memorable, heartbreaking portrayal as the brothers’ estranged, recovering alcoholic father. I haven’t seen him this good in a long time. (Nolte deserves an Oscar nod.)
The next reason is Gavin O’Connor‘s direction. He takes his time building characters and expertly creates tension and excitement during the fight scenes. There were moments where you feel like you are in the cage and it is pretty intense–in a good way!
You will not be disappointed–actually you will walk out excited about being pleasantly surprised!