“There’s blood written on your face.”

Blind woman

British-born director Asif Kapadia is now best known for his award-winning documentaries Amy and Senna but he ambitiously opted to shoot his first feature in the deserts of Rajasthan and the Himalayas. Kapadia’s influences are immediately evident — the warriors in service of a a tyrannical lord echo the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa (an early draft was set in Japan) whilst the stunning desert landscapes draw from Sergio Leone’s Westerns. Blending these styles in a new location feels sufficiently fresh, and Kapadia crafts a meditative and mythic atmosphere around a lone warrior seeking redemption. The titular warrior, Lafcadia, is the role that established Irrfan’s Khan’s career at a time he was considering quitting the profession, and he is perfectly suited to it — with scant dialogue, The Warrior relies on his world-weary face to do much of the storytelling, and Kapadia rarely misses an opportunity to focus on the weight behind Khan’s eyes. This requires the audience to fill in the narrative history and much of his inner struggle. In one scene the sight of a knife and the swell of music seem to incite Lafcadia to violence but what makes The Warrior stand apart is that he is ultimately a man finding his way to peace rather than vengeance.