Stars: Scott Mechlowicz, Nick Nolte
Director: Victor Salva
* (out of five)
Peaceful Warrior is “inspired by true events,” but it’s an obvious fiction intended to depict a larger truth — in this case, an illustration of Dan Millman’s autobiographical self-help book, The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior.
Millman is played by Scott Mechlowicz, of Eurotrip and Mean Creek, in your standard callow-youth performance; he’s a gymnast who thinks of nothing but going for the gold, the better to avoid the yawning emptiness in his soul. But when he meets that quasi-mystical Texaco employee (Nick Nolte), whom he dubs Socrates, Dan discovers the value of dumping his personal baggage and living entirely in the moment.
Some people will surely respond to the movie’s digitally enhanced depiction of transcendental consciousness; others will find themselves growing ever more intolerant of Nolte’s empty aphorisms and more and more suspicious of the relationship between Socrates and his young pupil, which feels distressingly like that of a cult leader indoctrinating a new member.