The Wrestler DVD review – Perhaps Mickey Rourke’s finest hour
After having heard many great things about The Wrestler, I was keen to watch and review it myself. It stars both Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei (both actors that were once considered past their prime).
When not starring in Enrique Iglesias music videos, Rourke is often remembered for his role in 9 1/2 Weeks. More recently he has seen a re-invention in his career (along with his plastic surgery) by appearing in the aesthetically pleasing Sin City.
Since The Wrestler was released, it seems that Rourke is in high demand again. Many have claimed that this film is the cause of this new-found popularity. This review is an attempt to discover just what Rourke did right in this film that grabbed the world’s attention!
A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.
I remember last year having a fairly heated argument with a colleague about which film was better: JCVD or The Wrestler. Both of us had strong opinions on the subject matter and both of us were ignorant to the other’s film. We sat there claiming what truly made each of our films special with absolutely no understanding of the other’s debate. It is only recently that both of us have taken it upon ourselves to watch the opposition’s movie (up for debate). You’d think then that after experiencing both of these entertaining films the arguments would stop!
They haven’t. They’re not even close to stopping! I originally stated that The Wrestler was overrated (without any knowledge of the film). Surprisingly I was right to some extent. Although an intriguing story, it is not for everyone and feels like it’s going in reverse sometimes. However if you stick with it then you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Following the path of a retired wrestler (of sorts) is echoed by the first scenes where the camera follows politely behind the main character for the first few scenes. It doesn’t show a hint of his “older” face until 7 minutes in the film. This, for me would of worked better if I didn’t know what Mickey Rourke actually looked like. Then, when he is bathed in light perhaps I would be a little more surprised.
As a refreshing take on wrestling you (as an audience) are invited to see the locker-room scenes of this sport and if ever you had a doubt whether wrestling was fake then I urge you to watch in horror as Rourke’s character (Randy “The Ram” Robinson) gets attacked with a staple gun and uses a hidden razor blade in a way that you won’t see coming.
Whilst watching this I cannot shake the feeling that Rourke has mimicked Hulk Hogan’s look somewhat. Perhaps his character looks like all wrestlers and I only know one of their names, but somehow his long blond (ish) uncomfortable locks seem a nod to the aging wrestling star.
Marisa Tomei, whose career never took off like her associates in the business, manages to shine in her scenes in The Wrestler. Only when you get to see her in light, do you realise that her potential relationship with “The Ram” is semi-plausible.
This is a story of a “one-trick-pony” which the ending credits song so helpfully reminds us. If you are faced to accept that the only thing you are ever good at is likely to kill you, then do you continue? This is certainly a solid film that Rourke, Tomei and Aronofsky (the director) should be very proud of.
The only lacking element in this tale is that of ambiguity. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little bit of ambiguity here and there (it’ll be under my name on my grave stone). However it seems that since writers and filmmakers are unable to make a satisfactory conclusion, it is left to highly ambiguous endings which almost contradict the very reason why you were watching it in the first place! It is nice to have some sort of resolution sometimes you know!
My argument still stands. JCVD was better than The Wrestler. However I am forced to admit that it is not by much. A compelling tale of a man who can only do one thing right, this movie is unlikely to make you smile. It will however stay with you for a long time after you stop the DVD.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5