Written by: Gavin O' Connor
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte
Genre: Drama, Sport, Action
Colour, 140 Minutes
By looking at posters and images from this film, it honestly just looked like another brutal film involving men fighting with their masculinity as they compare muscles. But I was quite wrong. We get all the bashing and thrashing, but a story that has its heart in the right place. The acting was superb most of the actors and the characters were greatly realistic, not to mention having a great plot. The film uses cliché’s, but has the heart, which makes it a great film and one of the lesser-known great films of 2011.
The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament. This creates a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother.
Some of you may know (likely not) that I am not much of a fan of films involving two men beating it out in a ring as they show mindless aggression and their masculinity, but this film does not do that. While the action of the fighting is quite intense and thrilling (even for me to some degree), we actually care about the characters-, which is very important.
With such good characters in play, it is what makes the film accessible. If it were not for such solid and realistic performances from the cast, the film would fall greatly. Tom Hardy plays the brutish brother Tommy, and what a screen hisser he is. Towards the end of the film, it is hard to forgive or like this character, but it adds to the drama with the relationship between him and his brother Brenden (Joel Edgerton). The performance from Nick Nolte their father in the film was fantastic. The realism from everyone made the film powerful indeed.
Two other great elements to the film are the music and editing. The final scenes have grand music that fits perfectly with the action, giving it dramatic punch. The editing in the fight scenes was great as they gave you that adrenaline rush. With close-ups and jump-cuts, the film’s editing is worthy of noting.
An unfortunate thing happened with this film. It underperformed at the box office. The film had a budget of $25 million and only grossed at £23 million. This is quite confusing as the film should have attracted an audience; especially males. The film did not get much award attention, but has been liked by many critics and audiences with an 8.3/10 rating at IMDB, which is actually quite high. At its runtime of 140 minutes, it may drag on in some parts just feeling it could be cut down, the film is worthwhile.
Verdict: In simple words, the film relies quite a bit on clichés like the concept of training towards fighting in the ring, but with the powerful acting and great plot set-up, you will find yourself thrilled with this film.
Age Certificate: 12 (PG-13)