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THE WRESTLER
(***)

Movie Review by:
"Our Man" Andy Schumann
Directed by:
Darren Aronofsky
Written by:
Robert Siegel
Starring:
Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel
Running time:
105 minutes
Released:
12/17/08
Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language, some drug use.
" He (Aronofsky) crafts a movie that respects the material and history of pro wrestling."
Darren Arnofosky has returned with The Wrestler. The Wrestler follows Rourke’s character Randy The Ram. The movie starts off at a local VFW hall where Randy just finished wrestling for the night. Randy is desperately hanging onto whatever glory he’s got left after his glory days. The movie takes place 20 years after his biggest battle. We also see a different side of an independent wrestler. Working a regular job just trying to keep above water financially. Randy develops a crush on a stripper named Cassidy. Randy goes to a signing with several old timers and realizes what is ahead for him if he continues wrestling. After a particularly brutal match with the Necro Butcher he suffers a life threatening condition. Randy suffers a heart attack and afterwards tries to connect with his estranged daughter. He has some success with the reconciliation but foils it in the end. Randy goes out in a bang with a rematch with his biggest nemesis from his glory days. The movie ends with a question of what happens with Randy.

Mickey Rourke I do believe gives one of his best performances in this movie. I think that his inspiration for portraying Randy was in some way himself. Mickey at one point was the next great actor and wound up disappearing for a while. Randy is hanging in with his career just to see if he could get one more chance at the lime light. When his relationship with Cassidy starts to develop he finally starts to see what the toll of his career been emotionally and physically. He’s ready to retire after his heart attack and put an effort to make a relationship with his daughter. Evan Rachael Woods plays his daughter and puts on an excellent performance. His daughter what’s nothing to do with him in the beginning. After spending a great day with him she’s willing to let him back in. Randy is enjoying his life outside of wrestling and seems happy. The lure of his past profession proves to be his undoing and winds up crawling back into the ring. In reality he accepted that only thing that drives him is his wrestling career.

Marisa Tormei delivers an outstanding performance playing a stripper by the name of Cassidy. Cassidy like Randy is a person who’s in a profession that is very difficult to leave. There is definitely a connection between Randy and Cassidy. Cassidy winds up being Randy’s closest confident in the movie giving him tons of advice. Cassidy is still stripping to move herself and son into a new house and a better life. Randy is begging her to give it all up and live with him. She finally makes the move to join him at his biggest match and only realizes that he appreciates the fans more than her.

Overall Darren Arnofosky successfully directed a movie that has multiple layers of thought. He crafts a movie that respects the material and history of pro wrestling. People who don’t know a whole lot about wrestling will learn quite a bit about it. The long time followers of wrestling will walk out not getting a new material but appreciate the material. This is definitely one of the year’s best movies. I don’t believe that anybody but Mickey Rourke could play Randy and pull it off.

THE WRESTLER © 2009 Protozoa Pictures, Saturn Films, Wild Bunch
All Rights Reserved

Review © 2009 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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