Two Brothers: ‘Warrior’

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Warrior

“Warrior” Review

Cast

Tom Hardy…………………..Tommy Conlon
Joel Edgerton.………………Brendan Conlon
Nick Nolte……………………Paddy Conlon

Credits

Director………………………Gavin O’Connor
Producers……………………Greg O’Connor, Lisa Ellzey
Writer…………………………Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman

You might be thinking “What? How exactly does a film about a bunch of guys fighting really make the audience think?” And to that, I would say, “Well, this film is about a lot more than just a ‘bunch of guys fighting.’ ” And when I say that “Warrior” was one of the best – if not the best – films of 2011, I absolutely mean it.

Honestly, I went into the film for the sole reason that Tom Hardy was in it. Since Hardy is going to be turning out as Bane in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” I wanted to get a lay of the land in terms of his acting, especially since one would think that Bane is similar to Mixed Martial Artists in more ways than one. 140 minutes later, I came out feeling absolutely emotionally drained, but in a good way; a very good way.

The film follows two brothers, Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan (Joel Edgerton) Conlon. Tommy returns to his hometown to enlist in a Mixed Martial Arts tournament with one of the biggest purses in history, and he joins up with his father (Nick Nolte) – a former alcoholic and Tommy’s former fighting coach – in order to get his help to train for the tournament. Paralleling Tommy’s story is Brendan’s, who is an ex-MMA fighter who can now barely support his wife and children with his job as a high school science teacher; Brendan sees this tournament at a chance for redemption and a means to provide for his family.

Past betrayals and recriminations keep the brothers estranged from each other and their father, with Tommy only using his father – Paddy Conlon – for training, and nothing more. One of the main reasons for this separation was the fact that Brendan – after having fallen in love – didn’t enlist in the army with Tommy. Matters were further complicated when Tommy left with his mother when the parents split; he watched her pass away in California to an illness that Brendan was never even told about, who had decided to stay with his father.

Once the tournament begins, we see the styles of Tommy and Brendan, with the former taking out each opponent with fast ferocious blows which result in a KOs, usually in the first round. Brendan, however, prefers to wear down his opponents until he seizes the opportune moment to get his opponent into an unbreakable lock, forcing the opponent to tap out. Already, the scene had been set for a fantastic final battle between the two brothers, between two completely different fighting styles. But when this final battle is reached, it is so much more than just an MMA fight.

One of the things that make the movie all that it is is its cast. Joel Edgerton is fantastic as the charming but oftentimes hapless high school teacher, who needs his one chance at redemption. The ever-amazing Nick Nolte was stunning as the brothers’ father, who was trying his utmost to redeem himself and get the family back together; he –along with Ton Hardy – participated in one of the most gut-wrenching scene of the film. Nevertheless, I think the standout performer was Tom Hardy, who played a role that was, though unemotional, strangely moving at the same time. He was mesmerizing as Tommy Conlon, and in my opinion, is probably the best role of his career so far.

The score was an additional factor that made this movie so brilliant. The National came up trumps with a subtle yet moving soundtrack that fit in very well with the film. The film’s best musical moment, however, was reached at the very end of the film, with The National’s ‘About Today’ playing during the dying of moments of the final clash, which resulted in one of the best finales I’ve seen this year.

The movie is set up in such a way that neither brother is supported, and the director – Gavin O-Connor – did this on purpose as to let the audience have its own interpretation, and derive its own meaning. Throughout the film, I never really knew who to support, and all of this culminated to a moment, right at the very end, where I just sat, shell-shocked. Though a winner had been found, I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad, and yet I still felt a massive overflow of emotion that brought me to the brink of tears.

Maybe it is because I have a brother who I am very close to, I am partial to films about brothers, like “The Fighter,” and “Brothers.” But the fact remains that this movie is a lot deeper than just MMA fights, and can teach each and every one of us something different. Though it isn’t a tear-jerker as such, this film will nevertheless take you on an emotional rollercoaster, which ends with an absolutely amazing climax. So seriously, go watch ‘Warrior. ’

FINAL SCORE:

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Dreams Within Dreams: ‘Inception’

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Inception

“Inception” Review

Cast

Leonardo DiCaprio……………..Cobb
Joseph Gordon Levitt.…………Arthur
Ellen Page………………………..Ariadne

Credits

Director…………………………Christopher Nolan
Producers………………………Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
Writer……………………………Christopher Nolan

Sorry for this long overdue post. I had a lot of things on my plate, and the blog was the first casualty of my hectic work schedule. But without further ado, let’s get down to business.

Well, you knew this one was coming. It had to be. Nolan has said that he spent years writing this film, visiting and revisiting his script time and time again. That must have been ridiculously tough, considering the kind of detail that went into this mind-bending movie. And yet, he manages to pull “Inception” off with aplomb.

The story follows Cobb, a man who has been extradited from America, from his home, because he is suspected of having killed his own wife. Now, he has become what is known as an ‘extractor’: A man who goes into powerful people’s minds and steals their ideas. He does this by entering into the subject’s dreams and trying to find a way around his subconscious. Wait, what? Into their dreams? That’s right, dreams.

Cobb is then given an option which will get him back home. He is told that that there is a way he can see his two little children’s faces again. The job is inception. Instead of going into another’s mind and stealing an idea, Cobb has to go in and place an idea there. He has to go into the mind of the son of the head of the biggest energy company in the world; he must convince the son to break up his ailing father’s enterprise after he passes on.

For this, Cobb must summon a team, an Architect, a Point Man, a Chemist and a Forger. Cobb relies on the tried-and-tested, and goes with a team he’s used before, with his Forger being Eames (played nonchalantly by Tom Hardy), his Chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao), and his Point Man, Arthur (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. All that remains is the Architect, and when the team finally convinces an up-and-coming architect, Ariadne (played by Ellen Page), to be a part of the inception, the team is ready to go.

What follows is some of the most mind-bending stuff you will have seen in recent years. Sure, “The Usual Suspects” was pretty hard to follow, and on the surface, it seems that ‘Inception,’ comparatively, isn’t too hard to comprehend. But of course, the more the movie goes on, the more you have to keep your eyes peeled and your brain on the ‘on’ mode. And then there’s the ending. Surely, even if you haven’t watched ‘Inception,’ you will have heard of its ending, or at least the fact that the conclusion questions everything you’ve seen p to that point. And wherever you heard that from, they’re right.

One thing that really makes this movie work (besides its obviously fascinating plot and script) is its stellar cast. Every single member of the cast delivers a strong performance, from DiCaprio to Marion Cotillard, Cobb’s dead ex-wife. Yeah, that’s right, dead ex-wife. However, I felt that strongest performances were from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He was extremely good as the Point Man in his first major role since ‘(500) Days of Summer.’ The top performer though, I felt, was Tom Hardy as the Forger. His cool and charming depiction of Eames was fantastic, and this was the role that really shot him into the big-time, landing him roles in ‘Warrior’ and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,’ the former being one of the best films I saw in 2011. Of course, he’s also landed the role of Bane, in ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ and I simply cannot wait to see how he does.

The score of this film is another thing that sets this movie apart. While there are some soundtracks which take a backseat to a film, the soundtrack of ‘Inception,’ at times, takes over the screen; and it works. I found myself looking up each of this film’s soundtracks on YouTube and listening to them on repeat, and they never got old.

‘Inception’ has that rare quality of being both an action-packed thriller, as well as a mind-bending psychological film. Not often does that combination come by, and Christopher Nolan must really be commended for the work he has done here, which is just one in an ever-growing list of very-good-Nolan-movies. The cast does a brilliant job as an ensemble, with Hardy and Gordon-Levitt being the tearaway successes. The score is great, and really adds to the effect of the film, especially during its more tense moments. All of this amidst one of the most thought-provoking films in recent times, and you’ve got a winner. If you haven’t watched ‘Inception,’ well, then what are you waiting for?

FINAL SCORE: