CATEGORIES Movie NewsIn the end, perhaps you can look at 'Warrior' as the canary in the coal mine for 2011. The exceptionally reviewed fighting drama about two estranged brothers, their alcoholic father and ultimate fighting was a major box-office disappointment upon its release in September, but judging from how the last three months have played out, that was just par for the coming course. Movie attendance in 2011 is off by 4 percent from last year, and -- despite some highs this summer ('Harry Potter,' 'Bridesmaids,' 'Transformers') -- most of the fall schedule was undercooked financially ('The Muppets,' 'Sherlock Holmes,' 'New Year's Eve'). If you ignored 'Warrior' like millions of other people, however, there's some hope: the film is out on DVD and Blu-ray now, meaning you can catch up on what could be the best film you didn't see this year. Ahead, 8 reasons why you should give 'Warrior' a chance from the comfort of your own couch.
You can actually understand Tom Hardy in this one! Even Bane agrees. Right, Bane? "Efafsssf asqqqqs fsffsafnnn rises!"
Kidding aside, Tom Hardy is so good in 'Warrior,' he probably deserves an Oscar nomination ... As Tommy Riordan, a wrestling prodigy who becomes a broken war hero with a secret, Hardy is heartbreaking, stoic, visceral and basically fit enough to rip Bane's arms off and beat him unconscious with them. Also: tattoos!
... so does Nick Nolte As Tommy and Brendan's (Joel Edgerton) father, Nolte gives one of those career-capping performances that usually draw the warm glow of Oscar. Unfortunately, he turned in this performance when Christopher Plummer, Albert Brooks and Max Von Sydow all did similar victory-lap work this year in 'Beginners,' 'Drive' and 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,' respectively. Will Nolte get forgotten when the Academy Awards nominations are announced? Hopefully his SAG nom bodes well for some recognition.
Joel Edgerton doesn't deserve an Oscar nomination, but he's still really great. Think of Edgerton -- who was poised to have a breakout 2011 until both 'Warrior' and 'The Thing' were D.O.A. -- as the engine in 'Warrior.' Without his Brendan, a good man pushed to extremes to save his family, 'Warrior' wouldn't run as well as it does. He's the everyman you root for in the face of overwhelming negative odds.
There are two songs by The National in 'Warrior'! Whether you're a bearded hipster or just a person who likes their lead singers to have killer baritones, hearing The National in 'Warrior' will make you smile and/or cry. ("Start a War" opens the film; "About Today" closes it.)
Frank Grillo gives the most underrated character actor performance of 2011 Get used to seeing Frank Grillo next year. The veteran New York actor (who has appeared on everything from 'Blue Bloods' to 'CSI: New York' to 'Breakout Kings' on television) steals his scenes in 'Warrior' as Brendan's trainer, and will appear in no less than four films in 2012: 'The Grey,' 'Disconnect,' 'Lay the Favorite' and 'Gangster Squad,' opposite Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling. Not bad! He's like a Palookaville version of R-Gos!
'Warrior' will make you cry No joke; the final showdown between Tommy and Brendan might reduce you to a weeping, blubbering mess. Sure, 'War Horse' and 'We Bought a Zoo' -- and even 'The Artist' -- have emotional moments, but nothing quite compares to the showing of brotherly love at the end of 'Warrior.' Did it just get dusty in Moviefone HQ?
It's just good 2011 has been a year of "good, but"; 'Warrior is just good good. Don't make the mistake of missing this one again.