I have wanted to see this film for a long time, ever since Tom Hardy was on Jonathan Ross and talked about his part in the film, which I then looked up and thought seemed interesting. Then I watched the trailer and my casual curiosity of Tom Hardy’s work grew to an intensity that I must see this film.
Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edergerton grace us with their presence for a brilliant film. The plot follows Hardy and Edergerton as they are facing difficult financial times and decide the only way to help themselves is by putting themselves through this mixed martial arts competition called Sparta. Which as its lag line is “I want to see who the strongest man in the world is”. The contest is brutal and compelling and you watch every moment of it. The twist of the film is that they are brothers, though this is relieved very early on and indeed is in the trailer.
This film is not just another fighting film with rock music to keep you going, no this is similar to The Fighter one of my favourite films of all time, in the sense that it’s not focused entirely on the fighting. What is driving these two films on is the family bonds and struggles, this is what connects with the audience and this is what makes it work.
This film is hugely character driven which makes it work as you feel connected to the characters and their struggle so you feel every punch and kick they get given because you want them to win. Bring in the complex of the brothers and its hard to say who you are wanting to win more. This then brings in an ethical problem, which brothers cause for fighting is greater, is it Tommy SPOILERS who is fighting for another family and who has the backing of military soldiers supporting him. Or is it Brendon who is fighting for his family to keep them in their home.
Nick Nolte plays the father of the two of them, an alcoholic clean for 100 days or so and is training Tommy up for the tournament, you can clearly see the difficult relationship these guys have with their dad. Even in tender moments with Tommy and his dad in the hotel room, this moments are brilliantly portrayed.
For me there was no favourite character as both men earned my yearning for them both to win, which makes the last fight so much more brutal and emotional. I wont spoil it by saying something stupid like who wins in the last fight, because it would ruin everything and this is a film you will want to see.
After watching the film I could not help but feel so emotionally drained from it and feel so envolved like I was another brother watching my two brothers fight, you get pulled into these characters so much that it’s almost to painful to watch.
I feel I should start giving a crown achievement to the best performance on-screen for each of my reviews, maybe I should. In any case this crown would go without a doubt to Mr Hardy, his performance is mesmerizing and brutal, he carries all of Tommy’s back stories and emotions so well. interestingly enough this film was made some time ago but it only recently was bought and put into cinemas and back then had you seen Hardy I think you would be safe in saying, this guys got something real special.
My only complaint about this film is simply, it was not long enough, you want to see more of these two men. You want to share the joy and pain.
OVERALL **** This film is brilliant and everyone should see this. Enough said, if you have just read this and havent seen it, what on earth are you waiting for.