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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Wrestler (2008) Drama

The Wrestler (2008) - Randy "the Ram" Robinson is a down and out former wrestling star. Squeaking out a living on his past fame in small venues he at least has the roar of the crowd. After a heart attack and bypass, he needs to give up wrestling. This spurs him to try to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned and form a relationship with a stripper he likes. Fear of dying alone a broken man drives internal character development.

What I liked: Duality of the characters and the actors playing them. Mickey Rourke an actor of excellent ability who may have been so much more had not the hollywood life taken its toll on him. The Ram still wrestling with wanting to be a better person but still giving into the vices that probably brought him to his lowly position. He may still have been in the national game if not for the drugs wild life.
Marisa Tomei as Cassidy a stripper who is past her prime and really should move on to another career but still sees stripping as a way to her dreams of home ownership. She holds Randy at arms length not wanting to mix business and private life. Will she pass up a chance for a real relationship ? Marisa and actress who still looks great without her clothes should probably move past that in her career. Certainly she has enough acting ability to avoid sthe trap of nudity in movies.
The script by Robert D. Seigel is contrived at times, but it has to be to move "The Ram" to the final scenes. His final decisions make perfect sense because of the scenes with his daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) and Cassidy. each thing that happened logically moved the wrestler to the final scenes. There is no fluff in this script. It is what it needs to be to get Randy to the final scene. The direction was very good from director Darren Aronofsky, with a nice use of hand held and the cute trick of following the character through the backstage of the wrestling arena and then later the back of the supermarket.
I also liked the commeraderie of the wrestlers in the back room before and after shows. These warriors give so much for so little but seemed a tight knit community of soldiers.

What I didn't like? Evan Rachel Wood was not great in her part but in fairness her role was just a means to an end and not a fully developed character. Asl0 the Store owner where Randy worked in the day was way too much a stereotype so a bit unneccessary.

Overall I really loved this movie and in particular the excellent job Mickey Rourke did in the title role.
Rating: (9.1)

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