Monday, February 20, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Warrior

Warrior
Running Time: 140 minutes
Nominations: 1 (Best Supporting Actor: Nick Nolte)
Availability in the US: On DVD and Blu-ray
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material

I'm not a huge fan of sports that involve fighting (excepting hockey, of course), and yet every year around Oscar time, I find myself having to watch another film about them. First we had 2010's The Wrestler, then last year's The Fighter and now Warrior. The film follows two brothers who, unbeknownst to each other, enter a mixed martial arts tournament. The younger son returns home to ask his alcoholic dad (Nick Nolte) to train him, while the older son is forced to compete when he has trouble making his mortgage payments.

As with many films that earn a single Oscar nomination, Warrior is remarkable only for the nominated performance. Nolte is heart-breaking as Paddy Conlon, the 20-days-sober father whose children haven't spoken to him in years. When youngest son Tommy returns suddenly he sees a second chance at being a father, only to discover that's not quite what Tommy had in mind.

This is Nolte's most memorable performance since at least Hotel Rwanda (2004). Nolte has never won an Oscar—this is his third nomination—which in a role like this would work in his favor, but every pre-Oscars award has gone to Christopher Plummer, and the Oscar is likely to do the same.

Grade: B

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