Title - 'Warrior' (Lakeshore Records)
Artist - Mark Isham
An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Riordan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for a mixed martial arts tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport.
As Tommy blazes a violent path towards the title prize, his brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family. Even though years have passed, recriminations and past betrayals keep Brendan bitterly estranged from both Tommy and his father.
But when Brendan's unlikely rise as an underdog sets him on a collision course with Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart, all the while waging the most intense, winner-takes-all battle of their lives.
'Warrior' is an original score composed and produced by Mark Isham and, firstly, if you've not yet seen the film you are missing out on something that is so raw, so emotional it is a real crime not to give it two hours of your time. Secondly, this soundtrack encapsulates perfectly all the ups and downs, the personal turmoil and battles within love that the film possesses.
The opening track, 'Listen To The Beethoven' is over five minutes of wonderment, which is a rare instrumental length these days. Not a track that actually starts the movie in any way, it actually comes in over halfway through. A stirring mixture of contemporary orchestra combined with some Beethoven signature licks, the track is still a great way to begin this musical accompaniment. 'Paddy & Tommy' is next and is a whole other beast, for it is slow, methodical, one step forwards and three steps back.
However, all that changes with 'Sparta Night One,' a rousing, drum pounding, chest beating nine minutes long testosterone ride! 'I Can't Watch You Fight' is more sedate, more rueful, shorter with the pulsating 'Koba' another musical gem. Both 'Hero' and 'Brendan & Tess' are the only real fillers here, but the truly evoking, albeit too short 'The Devil You Know' is one of the most beautiful tracks on the soundtrack.
'Stop The Ship (Relapse)' is, in the film, one of the most powerful, most powerfully acted, most emotional scenes I've seen in a movie for a decade. And backed by this music it makes the entire near six minute musical moment depressingly poignant. Bell chimes hail in the title track 'Warrior,' a stirring track, as is the haunting 'Brendan & Tommy,' with the sung/spoken-word 'About Today' (by The National, an indie rock band originally from Cincinnati, Ohio) rounding out the album.