Warrior

November 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Posted in 2011 | Leave a comment

◊ ◊ ◊ ½

Perhaps the most underappreciated movie of the year.  Though roundly praised by critics, audiences hardly bothered.  On the day I went, there were 4 other people in the theater.  I understand the resistance; with “The Wrestler” in 2008 and “The Fighter” last year, we’ve seen our share of fight movies recently (of which, “The Wrestler” remains the best of the three).  Wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, how many more assaultive sports are out there?  Also, the story arc is the all too familiar broken family/redemption trope (what else could you do with a fight movie?).  However, this movie does it better than most.  The other two films really hinged on two incredibly raw performances, those of Mickey Rourke and Christian Bale, that tended to overshadow the others on the screen.  The two leads in “Warrior” are much more evenly matched, neither out-shining the other.  Also, the conceit of having both brothers go for the title creates a dynamic the other films lack.  You know who has to win from the start of the other two movies.  But, here you get to know both brothers and they are very different from each other.  Both are played well and their behaviors are internally consistent throughout the film, right done to their different fighting styles.  By the time they step in the ring together, you want them both to win for different reasons but have no idea who will.

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