Archive for April 18th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA 2008 109m) DVD1/2

Did you ever see a one-trick pony?

p  Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin  d  Darren Aronofsky  w  Robert D.Siegel  ph  Maryse Alberti  ed  Andrew Weisblum  m  Clint Mansell  art  Clint Grimes

Mickey Rourke (Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson), Marisa Tomei (Cassidy), Evan Rachel Wood (Stephanie), Mark Margolis (Lenny), Ernest Miller (The Ayatollah), Judah Friedlander (Scott Brumberg), Dylan Keith Summers (Necro Butcher),

It had been described as a wrestling Rocky, the very thought of which was enough to make me feel nauseous.  I’d heard much about Mickey Rourke’s performance and expected great things of him, but not necessarily the film. My first reaction to it pretty much coincided with what I expected; good, sometimes very good, if only it wasn’t so clichéd and conventional in its scripting.  Why then do I keep returning to The Wrestler?  I’ve seen it four or five times now and on each occasion it hits with the same ferocity as before.  Its faults may still prevent it from acclaiming absolute greatness, but somehow it hurt harder than a trademark Ram-Jam to leave it out.

            Rourke is Randy, a semi-professional wrestler who reached the big time in a fight in April 1989 and, twenty years later, is touring small towns like a ham actor reduced to amateur repertory between stints in panto.  He works at a local hypermarket to pay his way during the week, but keeps his weekends free for wrestling and signing stints with fans.  His only solace comes from Cassidy, a forty-something stripper at a local bar who, like Randy, is realising that her days in that occupation are numbered, her face hardening, her sell-by-date fast approaching and with no other way seemingly to bring up her small son.  When Randy has a heart-attack after a particularly gruesome all-out fight, he’s told he can never wrestle again and, with his reason for existence gone, he seeks solace in Cassidy, who persuades him to seek out his estranged daughter, Stephanie.  (more…)

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