Sunday, 28 October 2012

FILM: The Wrestler (9/10)

Why did I watch it?
Recorded this one a while ago as well, following its high praise on release. Oh and I used to like wrestling.

What's it all about?
Mickey Rourke is Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, an American wrestler popular in the late 80's, desperately clinging to his days of glory in the present day and scraping a living in doing so. Robinson puts his tired and worn body through the ringer against younger athletes in local independent matches  fought in front of small crowds. As he struggles to pay his rent, he manages to save funds for dances from his favourite dancer Marisa Tomei at his local strip joint and makes efforts to reconcile with his estranged daughter.

Should you watch it?
The Wrestler is a brilliant character piece from director Darren Aronofsky. Rourke is fantastic as the battered and troubled veteran unable to call time on his career. His Oscar nomination was fully deserved and on the back of that performance I feel sorry he didn't come out as winner (note - I haven't seen Sean Penn in Milk). Marisa Tomei is also brilliant as the similarly troubled stripper Robinson finds solace with.

Randy 'The Ram 'Robinson
The film is similar to Aronofsky's follow-up Black Swan, both being deep character studies of troubled leads. The film is heavy in shots from behind Rourke as he walks down corridors towards the ring or towards the deli counter at work and as well resembling the coverage of a boxer or rock band approaching the arena it gives the film the feeling of a documentary. You can almost imagine Louis Theroux providing some narration. Robinson's longing for the good times is complimented by the 80's guitar heavy score (Slash played the guitar for the score).

The Wrestler  is the emotional ride of veteran who doesn't know how live for anything else and ultimately the ending doesn't matter as he climbs the turn-buckle for his 'finisher' as he has found peace back in the ring again.

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