Cinema and Faith - Warrior

So one of the newest movies that was released today was Warrior. To check out what I thought (Spoiler Free) and a short reflection on the film, click the link.

What do you fight for? Do you fight for Family? Do you fight for Pride? Do you fight for Honor? That is the question the newly released movie entitled Warrior asks you as you watch this film. The movie’s plot centers around a pair of brothers, Tommy Riordan (played by Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (played by Joel Edgerton), who are different men leading very different lives after being estranged for many years. Tommy is a reserved, hard-edged Ex-Marine who unknowingly became a war hero while Brendan is a proud, hard working physics teacher whose family is finding it hard to make ends meet. However, both men are haunted by their past, their relationships with each other, and their once abusive father Paddy Conlon (played by Nick Nolte) who seeks their forgiveness. What coincidentally brings these two back together is a Mixed Martial Arts tournament called Sparta with the winner receiving a cash prize of $5 Million. Both men train vigorously, Tommy trains with their father while Brendan trains with an old friend named Frank (played by Frank Grillo). The brothers also fight for different reasons; Tommy fights for his countrymen while Brendan fights for his family. The movie leads to their climatic confrontation where both men face the very forces that kept them apart.

Despite what the trailer shows, this movie is much more than an MMA-centered movie. What Rocky is to the sport of Boxing; Warrior is to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Although not a perfect film, there is a deep storyline that centers on reconciliation with the past being reconciled with Brendan and Tommy and the triumph of the human spirit within the reasons both men are fighting in the Sparta Tournament. From seeing the first trailer and actually being able to watch the movie, I can say I was pleased with film. The cast did an exceptional job of portraying their characters especially Nick Nolte’s portrayal of Paddy Conlon, a reformed alcoholic and once abusive father of Tommy and Brendan seeking their forgiveness. The movie’s pacing of the story was well done, allowing time for the audience to know each character and view the difference in the training of Tommy and Brendan. Once the Sparta Tournament starts, you start to become torn between which one of the fighters to root for. The fight sequences in Warrior were also well done but, some of the quick cuts and camera angles in the fight sequences detract from the scene. Even though this movie seems geared for men, I believe the theme of fighting for family should appeal to everyone. Overall, I enjoyed my experience watching this film in theaters and I would recommend watching this film and give it a 4 out of 5 straws.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7) We as Catholics continue to fight this secular world. Though not physically, but spiritually. Not with weapons, but with love. After watching Warrior, I asked myself “So, what do you fight for?” Furthermore, “what are you fighting?” To answer my own questions, I fight for Family and Love but, I also battle my past. Each of us fights our own battles. Some of us battle our self image, materialism, or pressures of the world. Whatever we battle against, we have the power to overcome because our strength is in the Lord, who is all-powerful, ever-present, and unfailing. Even though we are prone to sin, all we have to do is reach out and ask for forgiveness in our failures. We can turn our backs on our failures all we want but, if we don’t reconcile our past mistakes we may repeat those mistakes, make new ones, and risk not becoming whole again much like Tommy and Brendan who took years to finally face their past. No one is given anything they can’t handle because God’s grace will sustain you through your battles Whatever holds us back from being whole, rest assure that God’s mercy can free us from those bonds and all we have to do is ask humbly. “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm; plans to give you hope and future.” We have bright future ahead of us. Once we’ve reconciled our past we can move forward, use our past as a tool to empower us rather than an anchor to weigh us down in defeat.