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The Warrior

(2005) *** R
86 min. Miramax Films. Director: Asif Kapadia. Cast: Irrfan Khan, Puru Chhibber (II), Mandakini Goswami, Sunita Sharma, Noor Mani.
Narrative elegance and rapturous imagery highlight The Warrior, recently honored with the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. First-time writer-director Asif Kapadia and co-writer Tim Miller let their story of a repentant warrior unfold slowly. Irfan Khan plays Lafcadia, a mercenary in feudal India. When not serving at the pleasure of a warlord, Lafcadia tends to his adolescent son. One day, while raiding a village, Lafcadia experiences a transformative spiritual moment with a child who, he realizes, could just as well be his own. His heart changed, Lafcadia prays, "I'll never lift a sword again," but his is one of those jobs from which one simply doesn't walk away. Indeed, you could call this Eastern Western "Forgiven"—though The Warrior does not glorify personal revenge, neither does it apologize for it, instead depicting painful lots in life and the terrible chores and unexpected graces of perseverance. The Warrior isn't a complex movie, but the dark charisma of leading man Khan takes this impressive debut feature a long way across its harsh and lovely vistas.
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