It’s that rare triumph of the spirit sports movie that’s completely predictable yet remarkably engaging. Although you know where the movie’s headed, you still remain glued on this story of two brothers duking it out physically and emotionally inside and outside of the ring. Imagine Rocky with two protagonists set in the mixed martial arts scene. Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) gives another fearless performance opposite the menacing Tom Hardy (Inception). Nick Nolte provides excellent support as their self-destructive father (where’s the love awards bodies?). This is a thrilling action movie that wears its fragile heart on its sleeve.
(Originally published January 17, 2012.)
I hadn’t read the play that this movie was based on and after watching this, I guess I’d never get myself to doing it.
The film was set in the modern times with characters that spoke like they were in a theater (yes, they talked in Shakespearean verses) and I didn’t really get the point of this combination. It was just hard to hear people converse like that unless they were wearing tights or balloon skirts. I had more fun counting the people that walked out of the cinema.
The best things about this film were the actors and their performances. Ralph Fiennes will forever be Voldemort to me and he didn’t disappoint here. The stand-out though was Vanessa Redgrave who gave a chilling performance as a ferocious mother (reminiscent me of Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom). Brian Cox and Jessica Chastain rounded up the strong supporting cast.
And then there was Gerard Butler, who looked lost in all the dialogue, ready to declare war on his agent.