When “Warrior” opens this coming weekend, I have a feeling it’s going to find an audience. Lionsgate knows what they have, and they’ve been smart about how they’ve promoted the film. Doing a paid sneak the weekend before is a confident move, and it shows that they know that word of mouth is the best friend they’ve got on this film.
I have seen some serious pushback from some critics because they can’t get past the contrivance of the film, and I understand that. Yes, it is is a very contrived situation. Yes, it takes a lot of heavy lifting to build to a point where you have two brothers fighting for the $5 million prize money in this MMA tournament. Yes, the film is unabashedly trying to tug the heartstrings.
Yet, as I said in my review, that doesn’t matter to me in this movie. I grant them all of that happily because the film gets it right emotionally, and much of that comes down to Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy and the way they orbit around the great wounded animal played by Nick Nolte.
Sitting down with Edgerton and Hardy, I found that some of the dynamic you see them play onscreen was still playing out offscreen as well. Hardy is a tough man to get talking, but once he does speak, he’s got smart things to say about his work. Edgerton, on the other hand, seems like a very balanced, level-headed guy who is poised to take over Hollywood along with his fiendishly gifted filmmaker brother Nash Edgerton. Don’t believe me? Go find “Spider” and “The Square,” both directed by Nash, both on Netflix Instant, and you’ll see what I mean.
It was nice to talk to the two of them together, because I got to see how that chemistry, so tightly wound in the film, plays out between the two of them in a room. I hope you dig the interview, and I seriously hope you check out the film this coming weekend. It’s an unapologetic feel-good sports movie built on the back of a feel-bad family drama.
“Warrior” opens everywhere on Friday.