Monday, February 2, 2009

The Wrestler (2008)

I recently posted my top 10 list of the year... But now I'll have to amend that as I finally caught Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler. I have a favorite film of that year.

The Wrestler is a movie that has been getting a good deal of critical attention, much of it directed towards the performance of Mickey Rourke in the titular role. He has a great shot at a Oscar, and it is truly much deserved.

I also really admired Mr. Aronofsky's boldness in his storytelling. He keeps things very linear and simple, allowing the drama to unfold and the actor's performances to keep the tension and emotions flowing. It's reminiscent of the best of work by a director like Samuel Fuller. There's not a lot of BS camera and editing flashery to be found (Danny Boyle & David Fincher guilty as charged) and the film isn't as half as manipulative as their films pretended not to be. It's mostly hand-held using serviceable film stock (16mm) to capture it's moments.

Even though there aren't lush vistas and visuals ...the best money and high tech computer wizardry could buy these days seemingly in everything... there's a beauty found in this movie that no others could ever match. You'll find an honesty and integrity to it's story and it's characters and a real feeling of heartache and pain for the things Mr. Rourke puts himself through to find some sort of redemption. And it's not the typical Hollywood movie idea of redemption. What you'll find here are equal parts bloody, brutal, frustrating and beautiful.

You'll also get a sense that the writer and the director had a real passion for the subject, no doubt growing up in the 80's when Wrestling was at it's most populist... They painstakingly created a very real world out of respect for these guys, and you walk away feeling like they got it absolutely right. There are many parallels to has-been actors or those who's stars have fallen simply because of age. That scene where Mr. Rourke is forced to hawk his merchandise for cash at some sad looking and barely attended convention. Just, wow. I totally felt that character's sadness run sharp through me having watched some of my favorite actors and filmmakers do the very same thing at some past conventions I've been to.

When it's characters reminisce and bond about the passing years and the decades that have brought them some of the pain they're paying for now, they each agree that "The 90's Fucking sucked"... And given the decline in film and real & honest sense of storytelling since the 80s, I can wholeheartedly agree.


Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

Best of 2008 is right. This one got robbed every which way at the Oscars.

Maria Maria said...

The Wrestler won the Golden Lion a few days ago in Venice. Obviously that's going to build up some high expectations but director Darren Aronofsky introduced it as a "simple little film" and he didn't want the movie to get over-hyped. He said it's been a busy week as he only finished the film 6 days ago!!

Randy "The Ram" Robinson, played brilliantly by Mickey Rourke, was a star professional wrestler in the 1980s. He had a legendary pay-per-view match against the Ayatollah in his prime, his own Nintendo game, posters, "Best of The Ram" VHS series and legions of fans who worshipped him. The film begins in the present day with The Ram collecting a paltry sum of money for his latest fight only to discover he's been locked out of his trailer home because he's behind on his rent. He has a good physique for his age - with the aid of steroids and tanning salons - he still has good friends in the local wrestling brotherhood and he enjoys hanging out with Cassidy (played by Marisa Tomei) at the strip club where she works. He's a likable guy and the neighbourhood kids look up to him as a hero, so it's easy to root for this washed-up old wrestler as he participates in choreographed, yet amazingly bloody, wrestling matches. He struggles to pay the rent while also searching for deeper meaning in his life as he knows that he can't wrestle forever. However, wrestling is the only thing he's good at, and he lives for those precious moments when he stands on the top turnbuckle and his adoring fans cheer his name – but once he steps out of the ring his life is a mess.
medico en linea doctor en linea psicólogo en linea veterinario en linea abogado en linea abogado España abogado chile abogado costa rica psiquiatra en linea mecanico en linea He'd like to reconcile with estranged daughter Stefanie (played by Evan Rachel Wood) but she hates him after he abandoned her in her youth. He's never given her a birthday gift, probably because he doesn't know which day it is.

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