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The Wrestler


Several posts ago, I mentioned a movie that I was truly looking forward to seeing.  Today was that day and it lived up to everything I expected from it and more.

The Wrestler follows the end of the great career of Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke).  Once at the top of his game in professional wrestler, he has now fallen to nothing more than a minor draw at small venue wrestling events.  The Ram is a man stuck in the glory days of the 80’s as the rest of the world continues to move forward.

Besides the appeal of my old love I had for professional wrestling, Darren Aronofsky (Pi, The Fountain, Requiem For A Dream) was the man behind this film.  However, you would have never known this from watching it.  There were no quick cuts/edits that are typical from his past work.  The only signature was the “unsteady” cam that was used to follow The Ram wherever he went.  The film seemed to be shot more as a “documentary” visually than as a movie telling the tell of a man.  You almost started to believe that Randy was real (although there are real men like Randy) and this was his life crumbling before your eyes.

All of the performances here will tug at your hearts, but Rourke just rips you apart.  When he cries it is real and you feel it.  You cheer when his body gives it his all in every match even though he should have stopped years ago.  You cheer when he somehow finds the ability to enjoy the simple moments in his regular job.  You cry when his daughter wants nothing to do with him and he is left with no one.  I’m hoping this really is the return of Rourke because he is true talent.

Most people will enjoy this movie, but those few of us who watched wrestling back when it was “real” love it.  This isn’t the glitz and glam.  This is the days where heels and faces could not be seen in public together.  The men in the ring really hated each other and would stop at nothing to win the match.  Each match is perfectly executed in the film.  Seeing a man destroy his body by his own choice (blading) or via his opponent, the audience feels the pain.  The scene after the hardcore match where the camera pans across Ram’s body is intense.  Every scar, bruise, cut, drop of blood is shown.  You start to wonder if he can actually feel anything other than pain at that moment.  Heck, I even noticed The Ram using an uncharacteristic move in his final match (vs Ernest The Cat, Thanks James for pointing it out) before it was pointed out on film  (That’s just sad).

[Rating: 4.5/5]

Posted under Movies

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