The Wrestler Reviews
The Wrestler runs on what are admittedly pretty traditional lines for a sports film, yet runs on them with exhilarating speed and attack. I was waiting for a cop-out ending, but it never arrived.
Imagining someone other than the beatifically battered Mickey Rourke in the title role of The Wrestler would be like picturing someone other than John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich.
The Wrestler is about the seductions of superficiality and the dull ache of living beyond one's moment. It stares with compassion at the man pinned on the mat and wonders how he'll ever get out of this one.
Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.
Predictable as it is, this sad, strong beast of a film keeps us pinned to the mat with the strength of its compassion and the overpowering force of its central performance.
The movie presses too hard and too often, but the performances are strong enough to withstand the melodramatic impulses, and the themes of isolation and self-destructiveness are too sharply realized to be trivialized.
Mickey Rourke plays the battered, broke, lonely hero, Randy ('The Ram') Robinson. This is the performance of his lifetime, will win him a nomination, may win him the Oscar.
The famously downbeat Aronofsky captures the grimy texture of life at the bummed-out bottom of the wrestling circuit, but the center of the movie is Rourke's unimpeachable performance as a man who exults in self-punishment.