17. Warrior (2011)
Thanks to my friend Walker for making me watch this film. I would otherwise be ignorant of its existence.
This film is an honourable mention, as I usually like to watch a film more than once before I name it a personal favourite, but this film is awesome. It’s cut from the same cloth as films such as Rocky and Million Dollar Baby, but what I love about this film is that while it is undeniably a film full of fighting (with some of the best choreographed fights I’ve ever seen in cinema) it is at heart about family and redemption. The two main characters, brothers played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton only really speak with each other once during the story, and yet by the end you fully understand their feelings toward each other and their relationship with their father.
It is a blend of stylish but brutal violence and glamour, but it has a soul that is not lost beneath the spectacle. It uses every fight movie cliche, the underdog, the montage, and I’ve heard some people comment on that as if it somehow detracts from the quality of the film, but I say this; sometimes things are cliche for a reason.
It says a lot for the staggering level of immersion this film creates that I was actively cheering and reacting the fights as if they were actual live events, something I’ve never experienced when watching a sports film. Watch it.