Monday, January 19, 2009

The Wrestler review

One of the most poignant and heartfelt quotes I've heard from a film in a LONG time that completely sums up Rourke's character is "The only time I get hurt it out there [outside the ring]." That quote rings true throughout the film as he tries to reconnect with his daughter played by Evan Rachel Wood. He also tries to connect with a stripper played by Marisa Tomei. Both of them perform in front of a crowd and both have professions which are not taken seriously by the general public.

As a wrestling fan, I have been told so many times "Wrestling is fake. They're acting." Well, the punches and kicks are fake and the whole role playing is acting indeed.
But how does one learn how to take a chair shot or get thrown through glass? You don't. And that's what the film portrays so authentically.

What Mickey Rourke does with this performance is amazing. He's not playing Randy "The Ram" Robinson...he IS The Ram. It's what Daniel Day Lewis did with last year with There Will Be Blood.

The director, Darren Aronofsky, whose previous works include Pi, Requiem For A Dream and The Fountain has proven to be absolutely fearless when it comes to portraying a character. Not many directors would want to take the route that Aronofsky did at the end of Requiem For A Dream and I applaud him for his honest character portrayals. The filmmaking here is very much in the vein of John Cassavetes. Character driven, many scenes being improvised and a very documentary feel to it all.

This film legitimizes what wrestlers do in the ring and the lasting effects it has not only on their bodies but on those close to them. Rourke's powerhouse performance is sure to get him an Oscar nod and he clearly deserves the win.

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