The Warrior (2005)
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Critic Reviews for The Warrior
It is hardly the most original story, but Kapadia, the British-born son of Indian immigrants, infuses it so much with stately resonance and spiritual reverence, that it never seems remotely shopworn, much less laborious.
Long before the end, it takes on the quality of a wise fable and reveals itself as an enriching experience.
If you can forgive its lapses in storytelling and character development, then Kapadia's 2001 feature filmmaking debut delivers, at minimum, an impressive visual account of a worthwhile spiritual journey.
There's a pinch of Akira Kurosawa, a sprinkle of Clint Eastwood, and heaps of originality in this.
Audience Reviews for The Warrior
After his family is killed by his former lord, a warrior seeks to find inner peace.
Essentially an internal, spiritual journey, The Warrior is highlighted by a good, understated performance by Irfan Khan and some picturesque scenes of India's landscape. But the story is old, and though it doesn't submit to the temptation to become a simple revenge story, what arises in place of cliche is not much better because the film is unable to get us far enough into Lafcadia's psyche to become a compelling internal drama.
Overall, while there is a lot to like about this film, I don't think it succeeds because its central conflict is too obscure.
A warrior acting as an enforcer for a local warlord becomes sick of killing and leaves on a pilgrimage to his birthplace, but death seems to follow wherever he goes. I haven't had much exposure to Indian films, Bollywood being the main staple of British TV on the rare occasions it widens its horizons and being a hater of musicals it it has never tempted me. Being a Channel 4 production, it could be argued that I still haven't, and that The Warrior is another example of foreign cultures homogenized to suit the palate of Western audiences. Being part of that western audience, i think it would be a little hypocritical of me to comment. All I can say is I found this film to be a simple but beautiful looking, artful story of atonement and redemption, surely themes that transcend individual cultures. I'm sure there were many cultural references that went over my head, but Irfan Khan has one of those incredibly expressive faces and intense eyes that seem to be able to reflect a lifetime of pain and loss with just a glance. Lacking any other reference point, I'd have to say it shared stylistic elements with the likes of Kurosawa and Leone. Although it is a little lacking in content it is artful in the sense that it's more than the sum of its parts; it's a simple tale but it somehow manages to plug directly into the emotions. Maybe not the kind of film to be enjoyed again and again, it is certainly worth seeing at least once.
Using the rugged desert landscape of Rajasthan like a character in the film and capturing stunningly beautiful images, The Warrior is a very visual spectacle which tells the story in a very focused and confident way. Irfan Khan is outstanding in the lead and I would enjoy seeing him again in Slumdog Millionaire.
With a title like this, you'd expect a grisly, gruesome epic. But no, this is a small, intimate drama about trying to change one's life while trying to reject the strong internal drive for vengeance.
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