Step right up ladies and gentlemen and do not be afraid. While The Wrestler is a movie about a wrestler struggling to make ends meet, it’s not a movie about wrestling as such. This is a story about a father and a daughter, about the American Dream, about loneliness and redemption. Most of all, this is a human story that’s just as emotional as it is thought-provoking. It never relies on cheap melodrama and this is why Rabbit Reviews recommends you see The Wrestler, a movie that both wrestlers and ordinary people love. And if you’re looking for a good movie about wrestling check out Ready to Rumble.
Ladies and gentlemen Mr. Mickey Rourke is back. Although, if you think about it, he was never gone. I think that the first movie I saw with Mickey was Johnny Handsome, one of his more underappreciated projects. Mama made some lemon jam, mama made some lemon jam… Fuck man, that thing is still bouncing around in my head. After that came Angel Heart, arguably his best movie. He then decided to box for a while and returned to the screen with a couple of small roles. His big comeback was Sin City, some three years ago.
The Wrestler simply showed that he IS a great actor, despite all his problems. People love a good comeback story. Now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to the director of this masterpiece, Mr. Darren Aronofsky, a very creative guy, with a pretty diverse portfolio consisting of phenomenal dramas and fantasy movies (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain). His unusual vision and very subject of this movie, wrestling, worked so well together creating a very powerful atmosphere. I know that not everyone is going to appreciate the grainy and raw cinematography but I found it to be quite fitting.
Meet Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a wrestler passed his prime, now working in a supermarket. During the eighties, The Ram was the shit, especially battling his arch nemesis The Ayatollah. Bruised and beaten, both by life and his occupation, Randy still wrestles, only in smaller venues. However, when he wins a local match and is proposed a fight with The Ayatollah, he starts thinking that he just might make it.
After everything, The Wrestler is still a movie about wrestlers. It shows us the ugly and very real side of that occupation. It’s like how you see criminals in movies, killing, robbing, and doing all the shit they usually do, but you never see them after “work” or on one of those boring days. I mean, I know why they don’t want to show that lifestyle like that because it would somehow “humanize” or possibly “approve” of such a lifestyle, but you know what I mean. I guess, a better comparison would be any sport and any top athlete in that sport.
You see them winning or losing, but you don’t see them practicing for hours or dealing with all this shit in their lives. If you want to know more check out the documentary Generation Iron. So, basically, wrestling can be replaced with pretty much anything that will grind you up in life, and usually that’s your occupation or passion. These are very complex issues and I don’t want to bore you with inane analysis, but I had to write something about this. We’re all wrestlers in this crazy world.
Every working man and woman sees how the machine that is our society slowly grinds them away. They go scarred, broken and battered every day to work, pushing on bravely. They’ve got no choice and it’s only the other people around them that help them to get through this. The meaningful relationships they have and sometimes, just sometimes, they might actually appreciate and love certain aspects of their job.
Finally, I do want to mention Marisa Tomei and her brave performance here. She was willing to go all the way and it fucking shows. Her character is not too dissimilar from Mickey’s, so we get two great performances for the price of one. She’s dancing nude and he’s fighting almost nude. I guess people still want their pound of flesh. I also just wanted to set that straight and remind you of Rowdy Roddy Piper’s, as his life story echoes what we’ve been talking about here.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Robert Siegel
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Mark Margolis, Ernest Miller, Evan Rachel Wood, Dylan Keith Summers
Fun Stuff: The studios wanted Nic Cage in a lead role. So, Aronofsky had to fight them to get his first pick, Mickey Rourke to play The Ram. He eventually managed to convince them and the rest is history. Mickey gave it everything he had, actually cutting himself with razors, just like real wrestlers.