Saturday, January 10, 2009
Review: The Wrestler (2008)
My general knowledge of Pro Wrestling comes from the flash, hollywood glamor I've seen on TV from a young age, with cocky and superficial "athletes" talking smack to one another. In Darren Aronofsky's latest film, there's some of the same flash, but none of the glamor, and none of the glory. In fact, this film is stripped of all pallor and modesty. It's the very brutal, honest look into a broken down man's life. It seems the only thing significant thing about him (Randy "The Ram", played by Micket Rourke) is that he's alive.
The film has the very real feel of a documentary, and the character is a real man who we want to help out, but can't. It's heartbreaking to watch him go through day-to-day life, through the mundane struggles of a man past his prime and devoid of glory. We see all that life has to offer outside the ring (his confused relationship with a stripper, played superbly by Marisa Tomei, and his damaged relationship with his daughter, played briefly by Evan Rachel Wood), but by the end, all that matters is what's inside the ring. Rourke completely transforms himself into Randy. Even when he's at his least sad, the years of hardship are still present on his face and in his movement; it's hard not to sting from that.
Aronofsky abandons his usual crispness for loose handheld work that works like magic. There is nothing pretty about any of it, yet somehow, it's absolutely beautiful. One of the year's best, hands down.
Recommended? Yes a hundred times