Saturday, January 31, 2009
Movie Reviews: THE WRESTLER
Post # 150 and over 150 movie reviews, I just wanted to take a moment and thank every single person that continues to read this little bit of critical narcissism that I started a few years ago. I appreciate everyone that takes the time to read my little blurbs and I hope I’ve done a passable job. So thanks everyone and now on to our regularly scheduled review….
Estranged from his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and unable to sustain any real relationships, Randy lives for the thrill of the show and the adoration of his fans. However, a heart attack forces him into retirement. As his sense of identity starts to slip away, he begins to evaluate the state of his life -- trying to reconnect with his daughter, and strikes up a blossoming romance with an aging stripper (Marisa Tomei). Yet all this cannot compare to the allure of the ring and passion for his art, which threatens to pull Randy "The Ram" back into his world of wrestling.
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Opened December 17, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min
Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use.
Genres: Psychological Drama, Drama, Slice of Life.
The Wrestler is the kind of movie that immerses you so entirely into the main characters life that if feels like a documentary at times. Darren Aronofsky’s mesmerizing film is as gripping as it is gut wrenching. Aronofsky’s employs a naturalistic approach here and it fits the story perfectly. Lots of behind the back handheld shots truly make you feel like you are walking in these characters footsteps. Detached and almost clinical, Aronofsky doesn’t force feed emotionality on you he simply presents events, a stark difference from his visually stunning last entry The Fountain. Aronofsky’s direction is superb and he got some fantastic performances from his cast, especially Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. Mickey Rourke’s performance here has garnered him an Oscar nod and deservedly so, his battered puffy face shows all the pain and sadness carried by his character. The character is so similar to Rourke that he breathes and lives in the same skin; it’s an exaggerated caricature of him. Rourke is the star of the show here but Marisa Tomei is equally as impressive. Her performance is, like Rourke’s, is subtle and unstated but incredibly poignant. Evan Rachel Wood has a small role as Randy’s estranged daughter and does fine work as well even if the plot line is a tad clichéd. In addition, we also get a lot of real minor league wrestlers who add a massive amount of authenticity to the pre and post bout scenes with Rourke. The bout themselves are incredibly bloody and at times gory, so much so that some be turned off by it. Still, it’s an effective method and really shows the shows the extent of pain the character submits his body to for the pursuit of former glories. Aronofsky’s film is not like most of the loser seeking redemption films of its ilk and it can be incredibly bleak as we watch this man’s extreme isolation. It doesn’t detract from the film’s brilliance but some might see it as a downer. Regardless, from cast and crew this is a wonderful piece of cinema.