A friend has asked for a quote about the apparent sleeper-hit status of Gavin O’Connor‘s Warrior (Lionsgate, 9.9), and specifically about whether it’ll be getting any award-season action. “Not a chance in the world for Oscar impact,” I answered. “Forget it. It’s a good film, but not that kind of film.
“It’s an emotionally rousing MMA sports flick, very intensely acted and atmospherically believable as far as it goes, but it’s very calculated. You can see and feel the buttons being pushed and the levers being cranked. It’s Gavin O’Connor making another Gavin O’Connor movie. A good one, yes, but straight off the assembly line. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
“But as I wrote on 8.2, Tom Hardy is astonishing. He really is the new reigning macho-stud tough guy, the new Schwarzenegger-Stallone-Norris-Van Damme, the charismatic big fuckin’ musclebound ape with the soul of a poet, and British to boot.
People have been talking about Nick Nolte for Best Supporting Actor, I said, but he isn’t given enough material to work with, I feel. “Please forgive me, I’m sorry, lemme be your dad again,” etc. Nolte finds this guy and gives a heartfelt performance, but there’s not enough dimension to the role. Sorry.