FZero's Movie Review of The Wrestler (2008)

Rating of

The Wrestler (2008)

Not so fake.
FZero - wrote on 09/09/08

The Wrestler can be applied to many facets of life where one day you're on top, in demand by many and then your time has run its course and you're a nobody. It's also easy to make the connection to pro-sports with athletes coming in and out of retirement seemingly on a whim. Once the lights fade and the crowd goes silent the reality of life just doesn't compare.

Mickey Rourke owns this movie in the same way he owned Sin City with his limited screen time. He plays Randy 'The Ram' Robinson a washed up broken down wrestler that can only find work on low paying independent circuits and a grocery store which generates some of the best laughs to break up the gloomy atmosphere. This barely nets him enough money to continue living in his trailer park and paying for the steroids needed to keep from falling apart. One suspects the fall from grace angle is something Rourke has experienced and brought a little something of it to the role. In the ring Randy is flamboyant and confident, on the outside he is a nobody desperately trying not to fall off the stage with the fading spotlight. He has alienated his only family, a daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) and his only “friend” is a stripper, Cassidy, played by Marisa Tomei who clearly has a clause in her contract stating she must be naked in every movie from now on, but you won't catch anyone complaining.

While it's not necessary to understand the intricacies behind the scenes of the wrestling world to enjoy this movie it certainly doesn't hurt. With the brutal accuracy everything is depicted, the hardcore crowd will appreciate the little nuances and touches that are thrown into the matches and backstage chatter. Technically the wrestling is well directed, Aronofsky seems to have an eye for how it works, whether that's from being a genuine fan or research for the movie. However, those expecting the usual stylistic and editing approach he has become known for will be disappointed, this one is strictly played straight with no extreme closeups, split screens and fast cuts in sight. The wrestling scenes are loud, bombastic and need to be experienced in surround sound which work well to contrast the quiet tone of the movie while pulling us into the experience of hundreds and thousands of adoring fans.

The fall from grace is rarely a pleasant one and nowhere is that more apparent than in the work of professional wrestling. We constantly see wrestlers pushing fifty and even sixty trying to remain in the business at the cost of their dignity. Never has this fascinating world been depicted in a Hollywood movie with such honesty and accuracy.

Recent Comments

Alex - wrote on 09/10/08 at 11:50 PM CT

The Wrestler Review comment

This is a great review. How do you feel it compares to his other two flicks? Also, you should post this review to that forum topic (the one you and I were talking on) :)

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