Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Screen Angst: Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior

Happy Friday to you! Today I'm kicking off a new series called Big Screen Angst. Because tortured souls exist in movies too - we just have less time with them.

First up: Warrior. I'm about to spoil it like whoa, so if you haven't seen it and you want to go in with fresh eyes, click away!!

Meet Tommy.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
When he was about 15, Tommy, his mom, and his older brother Brendan had this plan to get away from his drunken, abusive father. Except at the last minute, Brendan decided to stay behind with his girlfriend. Tommy and his mom took off. And the family never reunited.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
Now, fourteen years later, Tommy is back. And he's seriously pissed. 

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior sexy
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior sexy
We learn straight away that his brother is a married teacher, and father of two adorable kids. Things went pretty well for him. His father is also doing much better; sober and working to stay that way. Tommy hasn't been so lucky. His mom died of cancer, slowly and with only him for support. After her death, Tommy escaped into The Marines where his best friend was killed by friendly fire. It's been a rough road for him, and he basically pins his misery on the fact that his family sucked. Throughout the entire film, he just oozes anger. Really, it must be exhausting for him.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior
Yet, we know he's a good guy. He took care of his mom, he's friendly to strangers, and he's only fighting so he can help out his buddy's widow. Near the end of act two, they go one step further. Tommy saved a whole tank of soldiers who were about to drown. He doesn't abandon anyone the way his brother abandoned him. It's hardwired in him. Yet, he has no one. He's totally alone. If I'm going to go all psychological, he'd rather just stay angry than risk loosing them all over again.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Gavin O'Conner Tom Hardy sexy
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior dad Tommy Conlon Warrior Tommy Dad Warrior Nick Nolte Tom Hardy
Near the end of the movie, Tommy's dad falls off the wagon. In one of the film's best scenes, Tommy lets his guard down because there's no one around to notice. He's faced with an old man, his dad, who needs some help. And, of course, Tommy steps up. The scene ends with his father saying he loves him which is probably the only thing Tommy wants to hear from him.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight Tommy Conlon Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Sad Tom Hardy Gavin O'Conner end
Then, the final fight. I'm not going to pretend that Warrior isn't contrived. In fact, the whole story is pretty much the definition of contrived. Plot-wise, these brothers meeting up in the final of the largest MMA tournament in the history of ever is ridiculous.  I doubt the filmmakers themselves would disagree. But when you look at it strictly from a character point of view, there is no other way for these brothers to come back together. Tommy is too angry; too bitter. He's not going to listen to anything Brendan has to say. He just wants to pound the crap out of him. And for a time, he does.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Gavin O'Conner Warrior Tom Hardy cry
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Tom Hardy cries Warrior Gavin O'Conner
But, as much as I love Tommy, this is really Brendan's movie. (Are you shocked?) He's the underdog. He's the one with the stakes, with the family, with the house on the line. The fight is only going to go one way.  Of course, in order for Brendan to win, Tommy has to be tortured just a tad bit more. Brendan rips Tommy's arm out of its socket. Does Tommy acquiesce? Hells no! Homeboy doesn't just give in. He makes Brendan finish him. And finish him he does.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Tom hardy cries in Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight brothers the end Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Warrior hug
In, like, the best fight moment ever, Brendan tells Tommy it's okay to let go. He also tells him he loves him. Tommy taps and Brendan wins. It all sounds incredibly cheesy, and when you look at the bare bones (or read a reductive blog post) it is. But Warrior earns its emotions in a way most fight movies don't. Sure, it has its cliches and improbabilities, but the characters are drawn beautifully. And Tom Hardy is just so great to look at. Like SO great. Hence my heavy hand with the screen-capping.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight brothers at the end Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Hug Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight brothers at the end Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Warrior brothers
This is a engrossing movie. The performances are good enough to overcome some of the sillier plot elements and it really does have one of the most cathartic climaxes in recent memory. Plus (this is The Angst Report after all) OMG OMG OMG Tom Hardy is soooooooo freakin hot. And he's shirtless like half the time. I told my friend River Sanzu that at the end of the movie, I just want to climb in to that ring and do both brothers simultaneously. She told me that was gross and I'd end up getting arrested. She's probably right. It's a good thing I keep her around.

Sigh. Check out Warrior. For reals. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Speaking of River Sanzu, her Saturday series on The X-Files starts tomorrow! So stop by over the weekend and check out The Angst Report's newest contributor! 

5 comments:

  1. Fucking brilliant review. SPOT. FUCKING. ON.

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  2. Agree with everything you said. Tom Hardy is perfect and he plays Tommy SO WELL. its basically why I love this movie.

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  3. Great post. I watched this movie two days ago, and it hit me in the heart so hard it became my favorite movie instantly. Mostly because of Tommy. The way this spiteful, angry fighting machine that won't ever give up, surrenders the moment his brother is there for him is one of the most satisfying and emotionally touching moments I've witnessed in a movie (or tv show) so far. It also made me fall in love with Tom Hardy a bit - before I never quite got what the fuss was about, but now I see it.

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  4. COMPLETELY AGREEEEEE!!! NOT A CHANCE IN HELL THIS COULD HAPPEN, BUT THEIR PERFORMANCES KEEP IT ALIVE! And Tom Hardy y sooooooooooooo hoooot!!!! THOSE PICS ARE JUST PERFECT

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  5. Awsom post...keep it up bro..

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