Warrior heals family through fighting

By: Dennis Gosnell, assignment editor

In each persons heart there lays some great pain that defines whom they become. Warrior is a fierce emotional roller coaster with that curative touch of inspiration that comes from forming unbreakable bonds.

In this movie the fight to save love and home comes to life.  When all that stands between a person and their dream, is a dark past that creates the illusion of being abandoned to the world; the only way to escape, is to fight.

Much like the older Rocky Balboa movies, Warrior has a similar feel that captivates the audience’s heart.  It’s the fight to survive, to provide, and to heal.   Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton), Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy), and their father Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) are the central characters in this all or nothing epic.

Brendan is a physics teacher from Philadelphia that is two short steps from losing his families home.  He follow’s his banks advice and takes up the refinancing offers that were available to him and his family.  But the housing market takes a fall into the dumps, and finds out that his bank can do nothing to help them.

Edgerton plays his character with a tender care that presents the idea of calm and smarts.  The means by which Edgerton’s character wins is through technical perseverance that uses intelligence rather than brawn.  The tenderness of Brendan is visible in his almost casual expression of forgiveness and will to hold no harmful emotions toward anyone.

Tommy spent much of his teenage years trying to be responsible for his mother after the two of them left Paddy and Brendan.  His mother’s illness kept him with her until she died.  After her death, Tommy joined the Marine Corps and found a family he never expected.

The still from the movie offers a glimpse into the kind of action offered to audiences. Photo courtesy of Chuck Zlotnick of Lionsgate

Hardy’s character, however, is that up in your face “I’ll knock your head off if you look at me wrong,” kind of guy.  He doesn’t care about what any one thinks of him, he’s just there to fight and get on with his day.  Hardy presents Tommy’s emotional state with great skill and determination.  Even at the end of the movie when the emotional climax reaches its apex, Hardy’s ability is still and calm and portrays the moment in a way that makes it believable.

Paddy is an ex-alcoholic who wishes to re-establish his relationship with both of his sons whom he pushed away and hurt deeply.  His fight to re-unite with his children, and his constant fight against alcoholism deprive him of being able to move forward.

Nolte is perfectly suited to his role as an ex-Marine/alcoholic.  However, it’s not the hard and rough image that makes Nolte’s character believable; it’s the quiet vulnerability of years spent anguishing over past choices and actions that gives power to his character.  In this way Nolte brings together the three characters and brings to life the hardships in which each of them is fighting.

As these three stories comes together to form a brilliant display of the healing power of forgiveness and the ultimate power of love, a viewer comes to feel it not only spiritually but also physically as the story engages in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) setting of brutality and the will to survive.

Warrior takes the violent nature of mankind and turns it inward to where the demons of the past burn furiously.  Standing alone against the pressing wind screaming, “I will not yield!” into that vortex of emotional damage, and finding that calm center of relief that comes from facing those demons and winning. That is what this movie is about.

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