As the title suggests, Warrior is all about conflict. There’s conflict between father and son and, most significantly, a conflict of a shatteringly physical variety between younger and elder brother. But at the same time, Warrior also presents a conflict between two varying dramatic tones – on one hand, the movie presents us with a quite uncompromising portrayal of poverty and a family driven apart by alcoholism, while on the other, we’re given a feel-good sports movie.
Everything about Warrior’s dramatic opening conversation between troubled ex-soldier Tommy (Tom Hardy and his ex-boxer, ex-alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte, fantastic as always) suggests that you should take it all extremely seriously. A combination of film grain, and documentary-style jerks of the camera tell you that what you’re seeing is intensely dramatic stuff. But then, by degrees, Warrior drifts from kitchen sink drama territory into the kind of feel-good waters occupied by Rocky, The Karate Kid or, more recently, The Fighter.