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The Warrior

Redemption never looked so good

In many classic samurai films, there is a lone, mysterious samurai who seeks vengeance on some dishonorable and murderous warriors. This same formula is often reflected in classic Western films. In The Warrior, director Aslf Kapadia has turned this formula on its head, and brilliantly at that.

Set in feudal India, the warrior Lafcadia (Irfan Khan) relinquishes his longtime role as enforcer for a local lord. This affront will not go unpunished as the hunter becomes the hunted in a pursuit through the Himalayan mountains. In a nice twist, the former warrior seeks not revenge, but peace and redemption in The Warrior.

Irfan Khan puts forth a powerful performance as the tortured warrior who is haunted by decades of killing. Khan's performance carries the film and drives it forward. The depth of Khan's pain is conveyed both explicitly and subtly. However, it's the latter where Khan truly excels. Khan's eyes reveal all and a sideways glance or an intense gaze unveil Lafcadia's sordid past.

Complementing Khan's performance is the beautifully desolate landscape in which the film takes place. Director Aslf Kapadia vividly captures the barren beauty that is in many ways the physical manifestation of Khan's internal state. There are numerous breathtaking shots that are simply staggering.

While the story is not terribly complex or breathtaking, the simplicity of The Warrior's narrative works in some respects as a parable and thus, resonates on a multitude of levels. Comparing Aslf Kapandia's The Warrior to the works of Kurosawa or Sergio Leone is not absurd. For his first feature, Aslf Kapadia has constructed an excellent film that rivals many classic western and samurai films yet he manages to put his own unique twist on a familiar formula.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars