Warrior, The 39 Steps, Tender Mercies: films on TV today

Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are battling brothers, Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll are fugitive lovers, and Robert Duvall goes it alone in the film that won him an Oscar

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ANDREW COLLINS:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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Warrior ★★★★
9.00-11.40pm Spike 

The following is featured in the Warrior trailer, so it can’t really be classed as a spoiler. But when the announcer at this film’s climactic mixed martial arts tournament shouts, “This is impossible! The two men competing for the championship tonight… are brothers!”, one thing he reveals himself not to be is a student of Hollywood movies. One of the siblings is Tom Hardy, a US Marine hero, who decides to enter the contest in order to help a fallen buddy’s bereaved family with the $5 million prize money. Joel Edgerton plays his brother, a former fighter turned schoolteacher, who needs the cash to pay for his daughter’s expensive operation. There can only be one realistic outcome – and that’s not a fault with Gavin O’Connor’s film, but a selling point. The siblings are estranged, their dad (Nick Nolte) is a reformed alcoholic who found God, and Hardy and Edgerton are gym-pumped beefcakes. It all adds up to a noisy, high-def B-movie with biblical overtones, and the contemporary military angle helps up the ante. What more could you want? 


The 39 Steps ★★★★★

12.50-2.15pm BBC2 

Robert Donat keeps a breathless pace as a man falsely accused of murder in a Hitchcock classic that doesn’t let up. Madeleine Carroll is the icy blonde.    


Coraline ★★★★

4.45-6.50pm Film Four 

This deliciously dark animation plays a bit like The Stepford Wives for kids, with Desperate Housewives’ star Teri Hatcher ideally cast as a creepy mum.    


Total Recall ★★★

9.00-11.20pm 5 

It’s déjà vu all over again. Colin Farrell fills the shoes of Arnold Schwarznegger in this remake of the 1990 sci-fi classic and he manages not to flip-flop around as the man on the run from brainwashing baddies.     


Tender Mercies ★★★★

9.00-11.00pm True Entertainment 

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Nominated seven times for an Oscar, Robert Duvall got to take one home for his brilliantly subtle performance in this tender drama about a onetime country singer having another go at love and life.  


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