Monday, February 09, 2009

Movie Review: The Wrestler (2008)


Randy 'The Ram' Robinson (Mickey Rourke), who was once a headliner, still wrestles in the independent circuit after 20 years for die hard fans in small clubs. One day, after a particularly grueling match, he suffers a heart attack after which his doctor advises him to quit wrestling and steroids for his health. He takes this advice and tries to form relationships with the aging stripper Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) that he has patronized and with his estranged daughter Stephanie Robinson (Evan Rachel Wood). He also extends his hours at a grocery store by taking on the deli counter job in addition to the stockroom hours he was already working. After a time though, he misses the life, rush, glamour, applause, and praise of wrestling and decides to go back to it. He shuns the responsibilities of relationships and work, and heads for the bright lights of the ring.


Mickey Rourke’s performance was flawless in this movie. I have seen him before in Black Orchid, Angel Heart, 9 ½ Weeks and Body Heat to name a few, so I know he is an actor of repute. But he really surprised me in this role. He was just so believable; he carried the film. The other actors were strong, but he WAS the film. I could not take my eyes off of him. Even though he played a selfish, hedonistic bastard, who couldn’t bring himself to meet his daughter, whom he had abandoned years ago for the love of wrestling, for one lousy dinner I still cared about him. Now that is acting!

I must say, that Mr. Rouke put on 30 pounds of muscle for this film and you do get to see him shoot steroids into his ass. The first time you see him lift off his shirt it is quite astounding. There are plenty of other “roidtards” to gaze at during the film, if you are into that.

Ms. Tomei is in mighty fine shape for a 44 year old woman. You get to see her in nothing but a tiny g-string and there is not an ounce of fat on her anywhere there shouldn’t be. Demi should be embarrassed the way the Ms. Tomei uses the pole (and can act!).

In all, the movie was entertaining to watch and moved along well even though I don’t care much for professional wrestling. There were some slow spots. It was directed by Darren Aronofsky. I recommend this film if you like to watch great acting and an experienced thespian make a great comeback.

I give it

**** of five stars.


Doug said...

I'm still on the fence about wanting to see this. Don't know why, maybe all the hype is keeping me away. I'll wait for Netflix, I think. I hear Mickey is very much worth seeing, though I still hope that Sean Penn gets the Oscar this year.

{btw: Did you see the Stag Homme GayVN nominations???!!!!!)

Sue said...

It is definitely worth seeing. For me the performances of Sean and Mikey were a toss up.

The GAYVN Nominations are not out yet. What are you talking about?