Film Review-The Wrestler

I just had to write a quick post about the Aronofsky film, “The Wrestler”. It went pretty much under my radar and I didn’t intend to see it, not thinking I would enjoy it. Boredom prompted me to watch it online. Without a doubt it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. It turns out all the hype about Mickey Rourke’s performance is more than justified.

Not having been around for Rourke’s heyday or subsequent fall, I didn’t focus on finding parallels between Rourke and his character’s status as a “has-been” amongst the public and his peers. Instead, I surprised myself by feeling more for this scarred, perma-tanned wrestler than I did for any other film character this year. Having an interest in the awards season, I’ve also seen films like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. Neither had as much of an impact on me as this performance.

It’s absolutely heart-breaking to watch at times (and also rather bloody, not for the faint-hearted). Rourke gives a very quiet, dignified performance. Simple scenes like when he waits outside the hospital only to realise that no-one is coming to collect him pack more of an emotional punch and will stay with me longer than any special effects could ever do. The terrifying lonlieness that he experiences and deals with by trying to reconcile his relationship with his estranged daughter is incredibly real. You find yourself worring about this man, really investing in him.

Refreshingly, Aronofsky does not paint Randy “The Ram” as a perfect character. The beauty of the film is that both the audience and Rourke’s character are very aware that he is flawed. He is a screwup and he knows it.One of the highlights of the film is Rourke’s interaction with Evan Rachel Wood, who plays his daughter. Wood turns in a fine performance and I think if there had been a bit more room in the Best Supporting actress category this season, she would have stood a good chance.

I really can’t recommend this film highly enough. It is definitely worth a look if only to witness Rourke’s magnificent return to form.

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Posted on February 9, 2009, in FILM and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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