Monday, January 12, 2009

The Wrestler [2008]

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Points: 90 out of 100
Rating: Adult (violence, nudity)
Comment: "Beyond the mat and the pole, wrestlers and strippers are people too..."

When the movie was first announced, I did not give this film much of a thought. Probably because the subject matter is not something many people are able to take seriously. Indeed, the title itself may hint of an action-packed thrill ride. Especially with the casting of the archetypal-tough-guy-actor, Mickey Rourke. But in truth, there is more emotion in this film than the action.

The plot centres around a wrestler (duh!) who goes by the name Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a washed-up professional wrestler from the 1980's. Twenty years after his prime, he still finds himself wrestling for various small-time wrestling promotions for extra money. It wasn't until he suffered a heart attack when he began to look beyond the ring and see what has become of his life.

Mickey Rourke gave an astounding performance, considering how much he swayed away from his typical choice of roles; tough guy roles. But this is the very reason why it was so effective. Just like professional wrestlers in real life, we often forget to look past their massive physique and chiselled face to realise that there is a beating heart in every human being.

The film's portrayal of wrestling is also an interesting note. Being a former fan of pro-wrestling myself, it's disheartening to see the lengths that the wrestlers go through for the sake of entertainment. It's a cruel business, indeed. But in the end, it is understandable why they do it. At least, why broken down souls like Rourke's character do it;

"The only place I can get hurt is out there. The world don't give a [expletive] about me..."

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Story
- Solid performances

The Bad [-10]
- The "incomplete" story might turn some people off

100 - 10 = 90 points

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