Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wrestler [2008]

Mickey Rourke plays an old broken down ex-superstar wrestler – Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson - who plays small venues for small dollars. He collapses in the locker room after a particularly brutal match – and he’s told he can’t perform anymore. He then tries to put his life onto a different track – but it’s easier said than done.

It’s a good movie – and maybe after watching it again – I’d call it great. I just don’t feel like it comes together for me and gels into a future masterpiece. I really liked the handheld camera work – it makes this intimate portrait really work outside of the story and on a filmmaking level. I thought the story was very tight – but like some have said – it’s really nothing we haven’t seen before in an aging hero film. Marissa Tomei was very good in her role as the aging stripper Cassidy (and she looks quite good for her age).

I wondered while I watched Rourke’s award winning performance – is he playing the part or is the part playing him? Could Stallone play the part with equal vigor? If Arnold wasn’t busy governing – could he put the tights on in Mickey’s stead? Maybe.

The one thing I recognized – was Mickey was built for the role. His physical appearance reminded me a lot of the wrestlers of the 80’s. And there’s no doubt his life story shares similar hills and valleys of the title character – which would probably make him perfect for the role over Sly or Arnold – but still does he play the role – or does the role play him? Meaning – does his life story make him too perfect for the role – so perfect that acting isn’t what we’re witnessing?

What I really enjoyed thinking about after the film was – the film follows a bell curve – but it depends on who you are and how you look at the story if the bell curve is swinging up – or swinging down. I like to think that the bell was swinging up – but if I sat down with The Ram and talked about his life – he’d tell me it was going down. I think this is the most interesting part of the film.

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I haven’t decided if I’m going to put stars up along with my reviews – but I like the format where I write up a short synopsis – and a longer analysis. I figure you can read what the movie is about almost anywhere – if you are checking out blogs you are probably more interested in other people’s takes.

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