Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Wrestler

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I have been waiting to see this since I first heard about it, being a Darren Aronofsky fan and of course a wrestling fan. The more bits and pieces I heard about the film, the more excited I was to check it out. Not much was really given away, it took what felt like forever for a trailer to come out. After all the waiting, I was far from disappointed (Which usually ends up being the case), quite the opposite, this was one heck of a film! I cried during the entire film, it really hit me, and hard.

The story is really just so sad, and the sad reality is, this is true for so many in the wrestling industry. This might as well have been a true story, it felt all too real (the style in which it was shot helps that too), and I just knew that the things Randy 'The Ram' Robinson was going through is what so many wrestlers in his position have probably gone through, or at least similar. The character presented I think for the most part is likable, but in a way that you feel sorry for him. He was a big wrestler and name back in the 80's, the real golden age of wrestling. But 20 years later, he works to minimal crowds at school gyms on weekends, a broken down man, who is in pain mentally and physically after 20 years of putting his body on the line doing what he clearly loves. He hasn't really done well for himself, what you get is the feeling perhaps he wasted the money he made in the 80's on drugs and alcohol, and now he lives out of a trailer which at times he can't afford the rent on and is forced to live out of his van.

The role of this character is quite tough and Mickey Rourke is nothing short of perfection in the role. He respected the character he was playing, he disappears into Randy 'The Ram' and at times you really do forget this is a film, it feels more like a documentary. I would say hands down, this is his best role, this is what he was meant to do. I honestly believe this film would not have had the same affect on me if someone else was in the role (Nic Cage I believe would have butchered it, who was originally cast), he really became the character and hit all the right notes. Marissa Tomei, who I believe always delivers was really good in this, playing an aging stripper who he forms a bit of a relationship with. I don't really want to give anything away in regards to that, but again the interaction between them was really believable and again something very sad I thought. We then have the father/daughter relationship, which I think was touched on well enough, perhaps a bit more would have been even better. Evan Rachel Wood again puts on a strong showing and I think she worked perfectly against Mickey Rourke in their scenes together. All of the wrestling scenes, felt very real, I could almost feel his pain in those scenes, physically and emotionally. It isn't easy for a film to provoke such a response in me, but this really did.

I know if I watch it again it will be very difficult and the tears will likely flow once again. I would highly recommend all wrestling fans to check this out, perhaps even watch it back to back with Beyond The Mat (Documentary from 1998 I believe) and you can see just how real this film is, and the story of Randy 'The Ram' is very real and very sad. If you aren't a wrestling fan, watch this film, steer clear of rubbish like The Day The Earth Stood Still remake and watch a real film like this.

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