Mickey Rourke stars as retired professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson, who returns to the ring to work his way up the circuit for a final shot at defeating his longtime rival. Along the way, he tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter while exploring a relationship with an aging stripper named Cassidy.
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The movie focuses on an old professional wrestler who is past his prime time as he struggles with his life and barely gets by while working as a part time grocery store employee and making small wrestling shows. He faces many challenges including trying to cope with his abandoned yet beloved daughter and a trying to go out with a stripper who he thinks he loves.
Mickey Rourke pulls off a major body slam as he gets behind his charecter named Randy "The Ram" Robinson. He holds up this simple story from being sort of boring by making the audience feel happy, sad, and angry at him for what he does in this film including doing drugs instead of reuniting with his daughter at a lunch they had planned. Of course, it would be a mistake to not mention how talented Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei are. Rachel Wood is very good at playing a distraught and upset daughter, and you have to give credit to Tomei for making up most of her own charecter.
Like 2008's earlier film "Milk", the acting and a wonderful song by Bruce Springsteen are really the only things that stand out in the film. The movie could be compared to a giant meteor. If nobody catches it then it could destroy our entire planet. But if people stop it then they would save Earth. The meteor is the film itself, and the people that stop the meteor are the actors. There is one more exception. Everybody is saying that this is Mickey Rourke's "comeback" role from when he did a few big movies in the 80s. The problem for me is I wasn't alive in the 80s so I look at Mickey Rourke as just another actor.
The Wrestler makes it just over the good mark because of its phenominal acting by all three leads and a great song simply entitled "The Wrestler." I also wouldn't mind seeing Rourke even win the oscar.
I must admit I have never been a fan of Mickey Rourke. Not because I did not like him, but I never really knew about him. He was most popular in the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and and early 90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, and I was born in 1986. So, I have not really seen his good filmsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..until now. I knew about Mickey Rourke, but not really about his acting. But this film makes him shine the whole time. And now I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be more happier for the guy. This has been a hell of a season for him with the recognition and award nominations. But what I like most is how humble he is. I think Rourke really appreciates where he is at and that he may not get another chance.
The story is about a has-been wrestler who reaches his peak in the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and has gone downhill since. Unfortunately, this resembles RourkeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own life and personal struggles. However, I think that is why he is so perfect as Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson. Their lives have many similarities. Once Randy has a heart attack, it puts a halt on his wrestling career. Due to the heart attack, he starts to look at his life and tries to fix it. He is forced in to retirement, but it may be a positive thing. He can finally put his focus on more important things like his family. He tries to reconnect with his daughter (played by Evan Rachel Wood). And give love another shot by starting a romance with a stripper named Cassidy (played by Marisa Tomei). But the real question is can he patch things up and confront his demons or will he fall back in to the world of wrestling? Wrestling is the only world he knows after all.
Mickey Rourke is great in this film. Earlier, I said he was perfect because he and Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson almost share the same experience in their profession, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true. It had to take a character that Rourke could really relate to for him to have a comeback like this. The story of The Wrestler is too familiar with the story of Mickey Rourke, and audiences are captivated by it. Originally, Nic Cage wanted to do it and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad he did not. This film was made for Rourke. He can be tough when he has to be, but he also brings a lotmore to the character. Rourke lets himself be vulnerable and is not afraid to let his emotions show when he has to. Whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the ring or not. Randy is a broken down man and life has beaten him up a little bit. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the recovery that is important. Randy tries and Mickey has. Rourke deserves all the attention he is getting. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m rooting for him at the Oscars.
Now I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to leave out the director, but Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood are fantastic in this as well. Wood does not have many scenes in the film, but the ones she does have are very emotional. You know that her father has hurt her more than heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll ever know. And she is scared to let him back in her life because he may break her heart again. And Tomei plays the only character that Randy can talk to. The friendship they have is the only real relationship Randy has with anyone. Sure, she is a middle-aged stripper that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bring in the money like the younger girls, but Randy likes her. She plays more of a role in his life than she knows. So, these women are important for this film. They make Randy work harder in order to gain their affection.
Lastly, Darren Aronofsky is the director and does a great job capturing RandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s journey. He has directed Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain. He crossed in to a few genres with his film work. He basically uses a hand-held camera to shoot this film and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so appropriate. This film is in your face and raw. It feels like you are really in the thick parts of RandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life. The hand-held approach makes the audience feel closer to what Randy is going through in his life. It is more personal it seems. Darren has not been getting a lot of acknowledgement like Rourke has, but he did a great job. And he has become one of those directors that people will watch out for because he can do a lot of things behind the camera.
The Wrestler is such an amazing story about a man who has tasted fame and wants it again so badly. Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson has a passion and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrestling. He has made a lot of sacrifices to live his dream, but it comes back to haunt him. I think a lot is said in the last few scenes of the film. You truly know where he stands and how far he is willing to go to live his dream.
Mickey Rourke returns back to Hollywood with the highly praised The Wrestler. Darren Aronofsky took a big chance casting Rourke in this role but anything worth of interest was built on chance. Aronofsky took the timeless & ever strong Champ formula combined with an amazing cast. The down & out has been makes a comeback we have seen it before with the Rocky series etc. But RourkeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vulnerbility which we ever hardly see is captivating.
Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson knows nothing more in life but wrestling. A fallen has been wrestler from the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s glory days now lives in a trailer & doing his performances in second rate venues. His regular life is falling apart as he tries to romance a local stripper, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) along with his bitter angry aloof lesbian daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). His fighting days are coming to an end after a savage match that brings on a heart attack. But he feels there is still one last desperate fight in him.
You can gather from the plot the script is not very original but this film does an excellent job of capturing the grimey authentic feel in the world of pro wrestling & AronofskyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s desirous direction. RourkeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance is phenominal you literally canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but watch him. I would not be surprised if he took home the oscar for this.
The Wrestler (PG) * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Opening: Jan. 9, 2009
Come December Hollywood studios typically unleash their Ã¢â‚¬Å“big gunsÃ¢â‚¬Â in hopes of securing coveted Oscar nominations. High on the list this year is The Wrester, an insightful look into one manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plight from Alliance Films now holding court at Scotiabank and Silver City Coquitlam.
Quality director Darren Aronofsky is thought to be one of his generationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bright lights. Never willing to shy away from controversial subject matter Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream) turns his considerable talents to the ring. Whether The Wrestler can do for Mickey Rourke what boxing did for Sylvester Stallone is sure to become a hot topic and open for considerable debate. At least with Rocky you had a rather uplifting if not happy ending. With The Wrestler weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re taken on a whale of a roller coaster ride as we follow the plight of one Randy Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe RamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Benson.
Most of us have seen wrestling on television with the WWF at the forefront of this decades old upsurge. Forget all the glitter and glamour of mass media wrestling. Our Mr. Benson is sort of a washed up rebel. Single and with a daughter he hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen in years Randy is clearly down on his luck. Try turning your back on a career thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fallen out of favour and you can get a sense of the inner struggles that pain this conflicted guy. Out of control and with little help sort of symbolize this manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s state of affairs.
No hold barred action in and out of the ring give The Wrestler considerable appeal. Be prepared for pain as we go behind the scenes to learn just how wrestling matches are created. Rourke is quite good as this messed up Ã¢â‚¬ËœathleteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ who worships the ring but may not know when to get out. Cast as his rather aloof daughter is Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen). That father/daughter dynamic is well displayed as is the typical love interest, here nicely captured by Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) who seems to have fallen into the habit of taking off her clothes a lot in recent movies, not that most men would complain.
109 minutes of the hardships and pain of a manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s career as it nears its natural end and the lengths thata crusader will go to redeem himself is nicely covered in this rather somber, if not sobering story. Good fisticuffs inside all those Ã¢â‚¬Å“minorÃ¢â‚¬Â neighbourhood rings may appeal to some but those wanting a rah rah Rocky like experience may be left wanting, though Rourke is rather convincing as an athlete undergoing all sorts of soul searching and inner turmoil that takes its toll on apparently everyone.
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