The Wrestler Movie Review: Rourke Slams it Out of the Park
Since the trailer debuted, audiences have been anxiously awaiting to hear if Mickey Rourke's new wrestling movie is any good. Well, here's my official The Wrestler Movie Review.
Mickey Rourke is officially back. Once Hollywood's favorite Section 8 poster boy, Rourke has straightened up his act and delivered a performance of epic caliber. This could be the one that finally gets him an Oscar, which is interesting when you think about how far this guy fell. He became a pop culture punchline and had one of the most bitter divorces in Hollywood history. But like the old saying goes, "Every washed up ex boxer must have his day." And although it can't be denied that part of the film's appeal lies in the parallel between Rourke and his character, the film is still very good without the art imitating life bit.
The film focuses on Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, a washed up former wrestler who was at the top of his game in the 1980's. (universally agreed upon by many to be the Golden Age of Wrestling.) He now lives in a trailer park in New Jersey (how could he tell when he was inside the trailer or outside of it?), taking matches at the odd community center or charity event. His doctor tells him to stop, that continuing would be detrimental to his health. But he loves it too much to let it go. Wrestling is the one thing that allows him to get up in the morning, and a world without that or a stable family is simply too much for the Ram to bear.
Speaking of love, there are two major female ones in Randy's life. The first one is the romantic sort, and she's a stripper named Cassidy (played by Marisa Tomei.) She, like Randy, is continuing a career that she knows is on her last legs. Her looks and patience have worn thin, and the only thing keeping her on that oh so slippery pole is a kid at home. Randy also has a kid, a lesbian daughter named Stephanie (played by Across the Universe's Evan Rachel Wood.) While the female performances are strong, this is Rourke's movie. There's no question of that fact, and the other actors are more than content to let Mickey do his thing.
Darren Aronofsky has done an excellent job with the direction, but then he usually does. And unlike some of his more commercially successful peers, he is willing to take risks. This alone makes him a better director in my book. And after the commercial failure of "The Fountain", Aronofsky needs to this be a hit. I sincerely hope he gets it. This is writer Robert D. Siegel's second script (he made his debut as a co-writer on The Onion Movie.), and he delivers us a competent script. However, this is Rourke's show and he rightly steals it. Maybe Fitzgerald was wrong when he said "There are no second acts in American lives."