The Wrestler [Blu-ray]
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Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as pro wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a former superstar now paying the price for twenty years of grueling punishment in and out of the ring. But he's about to risk everything to prove he has one more match left in him: a re-staging of his famous Madison Square Garden bout against "The Ayatollah." Darren Aronofsky directs a powerful cast in this action-packed saga of guts, glory and gritty determination that is "as irresistible as a headlock" (New York Post ).
The mystery of Mickey Rourke's career comes to a grungy apotheosis in The Wrestler the much-battered actor's triumphant return to the top rope. He plays Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a heavily scarred and medicated battler who's twenty years past his best moment in the ring. But he still schleps to every second-rate fight card he can get to, stringing out the paychecks (more likely a fistful of cash) and nursing what's left of his pride. His attempts to adjust to a more normal kind of life form the most absorbing sections in the movie, whether it's flirting with a stripper (Marisa Tomei is in good form, in every sense), establishing a bond with his understandably angry daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), or working behind the deli counter at a nondescript megastore. Rourke is commanding in the role; he obviously spent hours in the gym and the tanning salon, and his ease with the semi-documentary style adopted by director Darren Aronofsky allows him to naturalistically interact with the colorful real-life wrestlers who crowd the movie's ultra-believable locations. All of which helps distract from the film's overall adherence to ancient formula. You might find yourself waiting for the scene where the risk-taking Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream) pulls the switch and reveals his true motives for pursuing this otherwise sentimental story, but there's no switch. The Wrestler is an old-fashioned hoke machine, given grit by an actor who doesn't seem to be so much performing the role of ravaged survivor as embodying it. --Robert Horton
Stills from The Wrestler (Click for larger image)
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Marissa Tomei plays Cassidy, an aging knockout stripper. Randy frequents Cassidy's strip club. Both are quirky, but good people earning minimal amounts of money the hard way. They make a nice couple. Tomei's performance is arguably the BEST she's ever given. When he's not wrestling, Randy works part time at a local grocery-deli store. He and the manger exchange some funny dialogue. The worst part of the script surrounds Randy's estranged daughter (Stephanie) played by Evan Rachel Wood. Her role wasn't enticing at all. If anything, it derailed the film at times. Director Darren Aronofsky could have easily omitted Wood's role.
The entire film was shot on a shoestring budget in a little over 30 days. Most of it in NJ.....using pro wrestlers, locals and even some of Aronofsky's kinfolk. Why Mickey Rourke did not win BEST ACTOR at the ACADEMY AWARDS, as well Tomei for BEST ACTRESS was a disgrace. Hollywood is all politics and they apparently don’t care for simple stories. The Wrestler is one of the 20 GREATEST MOVIES ever made.
He's lonely, has no one except a stripper at a club that he's friendly with (strong performance by Marisa Tomei, whose body looks amazing) and an estranged daughter.
Although the wrestling is a performance, it involves a lot of injuries. Building and maintaining the muscular physics is something he takes a lot of steroids for. Much of what he earns goes back into maintenance.
He lives for the waning fame. He loves the attention of the crowd.
When he has a heart attack and finds out that he cannot survive unless he gives up wrestling, he tries to start life over, including developing a relationship with his daughter and Tomei's character and getting a different job.
The issue in this film is whether he can live without being the famous wrestler.
-1 star for old school digital disc and not a UV code. Minor detail and probably harsh to knock the stars for it considering it was released before UV, but the digital code is a big thing for me.
Top international reviews
He plays a `burned out' wrestler whose glory days have long since passed him by. He lives in a trailer, works part-time at a local supermarket and barely sees his daughter. We watch as he tries desperately to form relationships and regain his career. Like people said that The Man Who Fell to Earth was basically about David Bowie playing a - slightly warped - version of himself, The Wrestler is effectively Mickey Rourke. He's seen his best - acting - days and is trying to climb back up the ladder - the hard way.
If you're not a fan of `professional' wrestling, don't worry. The actual `ring time' makes up about 12 minutes of a 1 hour 40 minutes film. And, what grappling there is, only proves the point that it's all fake and one big show for the people.
There's little to laugh at here. It's a sad tale of someone who has had a taste of the big life and lost it. Now he'll do anything to get it back. It's definitely not a feel-good movie. If you want something tragically poignant, where you root and feel sorry for the `hero' all at the same time, try this. Mickey Rourke is more than just muscles.
Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Rourke) is a renowned wrestler, a show stealer. But one night he is forced to retire and starts to look at his life in a different light.
Being a huge fan of the American wrestling entertainment such as WWE and TNA I looked forward to seeing how wrestling was portrayed in this film. But I was given so much more. This is a strong passionate drama that will make you laugh, cry and stand up and cheer. And there are two reasons why: Mickey Rourke and Darren Aronofsky.
Much was made of this film being Mickey Rourke's big come back after all he has been through over the years. This is a film that really shows his masculinity, his strength but combined with an underlining sentimentality and a deep internal struggle brings about an Oscar nominated performance.
The Ram is a hero. The wonderful opening credits show a montage of the wrestler at the top of his game, showcasing his talents and being the man in that era. As the film progresses we can see how the character changes through highs at independent events to the lows with his family life. Ram is an inspiration through strong will and a determination to make everything right for his family and for himself. The way he portrays himself to his neighbours, and the choices in language all collate into a fantastic person, that is always a joy to watch.
Aronofsky's writing chooses to follow Rourke's character from start to finish and his choices of including other interests such as strippers, family, wrestling, drug smuggling and food service jobs all mix to make a believable, almost relaxing story. Everything flows smoothly with the excitement of the wrestling matches to the heavy dramatic scenes between father and daughter to the tense love scenarios.
The film has a real independent feel. There is no glitz and glamour, everything is portrayed as run down and difficult living environments. Ram's home is shabby, his workplace is stressful but his real life lies in the ring. Aronofsky's close ups are great but his scenery shots are even better.
The wrestling matches are the highlights of this 2008 picture. Being a fan of wrestling I enjoyed seeing how the independent scene was worked, how each wrestler interacted with each other behind the curtains and seeing how brutal some of the `weapons' used were. The brutality and execution from all the actors and the crowd worked wonders.
Given Ram's life and everything he has been put through it is inspiring to see a person give everything into something they enjoy doing and through Rourke's strong dynamic performance and the directional master class of Aronofsky, this is a great drama that is definitely worth checking out.
The story of Randy 'The Ram' Robinson(Rourke)though fictional mirrors the lives of many of the 80's wrestling superstars dealing with painkiller and other drug addictions and a seperation from the outside world.
Once a superstar and all time great of pro wrestling, Randy the now aged and an old man is now wrestling in school gyms for little pay earning just enough to scrape by in life, just a shaddow of his former self and sold out arenas of his path, but wrestling is all he knows.
The Wrestler is a reminder that the larger than life wrestling heroes from our child hood are human who have often sacrificed all they have to be left with nothing but hurt and pain and shattered relationships from a life constantly on the road.
Marisa Tomei's part is not to be understated, she plays Randy's regular stripper who he has developed some what of a weird bond through many years of being a customer, Like Randy Marisa's charactor is also aging and has her best years behind her. Sadly Randy's bond with his stripper is essentially the only functioning relationship in his life seeing as his daughter hates him
Don't watch this if your wanting a Rocky style feel good story, this is a sad movie but is worth the journy
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The Wrestler (2008)
Mickey Rourke? Who's that? Within five minutes of watching The Wrestler you are no longer looking at Mickey Rourke. He is Randy "The Ram Robinson.
Spellbinding, mesmerizing, captivating, awesome. All these half corny words are ground out for a performance like this but what it really is, is beautiful. Rourke has always had presence and he showed he still has it during his comeback as Marv in Sin City. As Randy the Ram however it is something else.
I'm going to be bold and say not since Viggo Mortensen became Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings Triology, not since Robert De Niro became Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, and recently as Meryl Streep became Maggie Thatcher in The Iron Lady. This is where Rourke's performance stands, in the beyond great category (yes there are more but I am trying to be concise).
Randy the Ram is a past his prime wrestler, forced to do local gigs with minimal crowds. His boss (Todd Barry) belittles him for spraying himself with fake tan and rubbing his lycra clad body against other men on weekends. He fruitlessly pursues a single mother, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) who works as a stripper where he drinks every night. It seems like his life is down and out but Randy opens up just a little for Cassidey to persuade him to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).
It's through this almost reluctant attempt and reconnection that we see the real Randy. The man that put aside everything to become a wrestler because he felt that was the only place he was ever loved.
The supporting cast is brilliant. Marisa Tomi (Before the Devil Knows you're Dead, Anger Management) graces us with a sublime performance and easily the best of her career.
Director Darren Aronofsky's (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and recently Black Swan) direction is subtly brutal. He tiptoes around Randy's personal life as if we were on his shoulder and not supposed to be there. Yet it does not feel invasive despite the film's strong realism.
Randy does only ever have one place he loves. The same place he is worshiped. The ring. Everything else he does seems to go wrong, and some of the mistakes he makes we can see him as he's making them. The film is deeply tragic in that sense. But we root for Randy, and we side with him taking hold of the `me against the world' mentality. At least I did.
What's fascinating is the world of wrestling and Rourke, aged 56 at the time of filming, is in phenomenal shape. He did a lot of the of the stunts and both of his trainers Jon Trosky and Tom Farra have parts in the film. All of the locker room scenes were improvised and this genuineness is great. The film takes us through the whole aspect of being a wrestler. The fake tanning, the shaving of body hair, the hair dye and the steroids and weight room. Like it or hate it you can still respect these guys as showmen and professional athletes and stuntmen.
A lot of professionals praised the film. Vince McMahon called it "deeply touching". Bret "The Hitman" Hart, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Mick Foley all came out in praise for the film.
This film is a real film. There are no special effects, there are no gun battles or car chases, there are no cheeky blonde girls in bikini's (yes there is a strip club but it's not glamorous). There is just the camera, great locations, great directing, great script and beautiful acting.
Even if you aren't a wrestling fan, this stand-alone movie will strike a chord and you most definitely shouldn't miss out on it.
Simple story-telling with magnificent performances. There's not really much else to say other than don't miss this!
The DVD has some nice extra material on the making of the film but it's the feature that wins this round.
Except a lot of grain in the video that it must be intentional and some other minor negatives as slow pace in movie direction or overall disatisfying scenario it's a great movie that equals "Raging Bull".
Rourke fans enough said!!!...Buy it!!!