A lot of sports movies focus on underdogs, and while Warrior is no exception, it offers much more than a tale of athletes facing incredible odds. Brendan (Joel Edgerton) and Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) are two estranged brothers who find themselves training for the same mixed martial arts competition with a $5 million dollar prize. After physics teacher Brendan is suspended from his job without pay, he goes after the prize money so that his family can keep their home. Former Marine Tommy, who has suddenly returned from his service in Afghanistan, is also anxious to get a hold of the cash, though his motives aren't immediately clear. When they finally step into the caged ring, you're just as concerned with the outcome of the physical battle as you are with the emotional one that has broken the family.
As the pair prepares for the fight, they cross paths with their reformed alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte). Tommy decides to train with him, despite the fact that he loathes his dad, while Brendan resists a relationship with him when the old man attempts to apologize for his wrongdoings. The familial rift that has caused these men to grow apart is revealed slowly, and done in such a way that you become emotionally invested in each fighter. I was surprised that a movie about cage fighting could capture the strained dynamic between brothers so well. To find out why I found myself rooting for each brother in and out of the ring, just read more