One to restore your faith in humanity when you’ve had a crap day and feel like there’s no hope for us walking beasts (that’s beasts, not breasts).
Scott Mechlowicz, Nick Nolte, Amy Smart
Based on author Dan Millman’s best-selling autobiographical novel, “Peaceful Warrior” is a journey of personal growth that in turn, rewards and enriches the viewers existence, too.
Relative newcomer Scott Mechlowicz (“EuroTrip”, “Mean Creek”), does a fine job as young Millman, a promising college student, with Olympic gymnastics dreams, who has a seemingly perfect life: a different, gorgeous young woman in his bed most nights, straight A’s, and a bunch of male friends any young college dude would die for, complete with drinkfests and kudos aplenty.
In the wee hours on one of his usual sleepless nights and after the weirdest of dreams involving a faceless man with two different shoes, he wanders up to the local gas station where low and behold, the attendant (a fabulous Nick Nolte) is wearing those odd shoes. Bewildered, he hangs around long enough to be drawn into the world of the mysterious man.
What follows is a series of tests and lessons imparted on Dan by the man he calls “Socrates”; tests he isn’t really sure about, but knowing that something is missing from his life, he soldiers on, wanting to know and learn more. In doing so, his life becomes far less than perfect, with circumstances changing drastically; life-altering changes including serious injury which give him a taste of everyday, less-than-perfect life. Through Socrates, he also meets Joy, a beautiful yet mysterious young woman who has a quiet confidence he finds intriguing.
Based on events of Millman’s life, this film is full of inspirational messages and although I don’t want to sound like a schoolteacher, this is something everyone should see, particularly the youngies: having everything, yet feeling empty, then having to do the hard yards on the path of enlightenment may not seem like everyone’s cuppa tea and although there are times when you wonder if the pace couldn’t bit picked up a tad, I felt compelled to see how things eventuated.
Granted, Mechlowicz seems a little green in the role, but still manages to deliver a performance able to ensure that you understand his character is undergoing a huge transformation of the spirit and he’s able to pull out the acting stops when needed.
If you’re into awareness/consciousness, personal motivation and growth, this will appeal. If not, you may just want to be.
There are moments of dark, soul-searching stuff which are somewhat Luke Skywalker-esque, but they’re not overdone, so translate well into something very believable. But, having said that, I think it could have been even darker, only enhancing the transformation further – you know: Anakin to Vader stuff, only in reverse. OK, maybe not that dramatic (or fictional), but you get the point.
It wasn’t given a wide release in the US. I have no idea why as it would seem to appeal to a wide audience. In its entirety, this could be mistaken as a good quality made-for-TV movie, but thankfully surpasses that courtesy of good acting and a touching and motivating story. One to restore your faith in humanity when you’ve had a crap day and feel like there’s no hope for us walking beasts (that’s beasts, not breasts).
Reviewer :Tania Martin