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'Warrior Family...' a family film, a special treat (IANS Movie Review)
Film: 'Warrior Family Is Worth Fighting For'; Director: Gavin O'Connor; Actors: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison; Rating: ****
In a normal feel-good, fighting-the-odds film, you root for the protagonist to win. In the end, when she/he is being beaten, you wish for a miracle, which is usually delivered. Now imagine a film in which you are rooting for both the opponents in the ring, wanting both to win and none to lose. Writer-director Gavin O'Connor brings you just that impossible story.
Two brothers with diametrically opposite personalities and fighting styles, from a broken family, find themselves facing each other in a mixed martial arts contest with both having reasons compelling enough to desperately want to win.
Once upon a time, Hollywood action films were purely full of fights. There were beefy men who fought the odds and emerged victorious in the end.
Lately however, in this genre, as in many others, we have mixed genre movies that try to blend in elements of one genre with another. And though there have been many that have tried to blend action and family drama, very few have succeeded with the right delicate balance like 'Warrior Family...' does.
Despite its action, this is predominantly a family film. It is the story of broken men, who are emotionally charred, yet are good at heart. At the core of it, they long for the comforts of a family.
And it is family that becomes the leitmotif of the film. The older brother fights to protect his family while the younger one struggles because he wants to help the family of a fallen comrade.
And the underlying motive for them is the happiness they never had growing up in a family life with a drunken father.
It is in travelling the landscape of family life that 'Warrior Family...' scores an ace.
Things are merely hinted at but the violence -- both physical and emotional -- of the family life that the two brothers have endured, make them what they become, giving them the drive to protect families they know and sets them off for a riveting final confrontation.
The film, very adeptly, makes no judgement on its characters. It just lays out the stories and the scars the characters carry, without ever judging any of them.
This and the riveting ending where neither brother really loses -- one gets the money, the other, the family he had not had for long -- makes the film that much more compelling.
Connor returns to the space he is most comfortable with -- soaring sports film about fighting and winning against the odds.
His previous such outing with 'Miracle' (2004), is not just an eternally inspiring story, but also inspired many copies, including our very own 'Chak De! India' starring Shah Rukh Khan.
'Warrior Family...' is riddled with cliches and inconsistencies. Hence it becomes a special treat to see it rising to build a physically and emotionally high-voltage drama.
There's plenty of inspiration for Bollywood in this film, on how to revive the separated-brothers genre, and make it viable for today's viewers.
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