Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Wrestler

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : Jan ‘09
Time : 111 minutes
Director : Darren Aronofsky; Writer : Robert Siegel
Starring : Mickey Rourke; Marisa Tomei; Evan Rachel Wood

This is a compelling slice of life, shows us nothing extra-ordinary, just a few days in the twilight years of a WWF wrestler but delivers a film that despite being slow paced, keeps you hooked till the end.

Mickey Rourke stars as a ‘retired’ wrestler who’s struggling to make ends meet. Who’s only source of revenue are exhibition fights and the autograph signing sessions prior to them. Who’s not met his daughter for years. Who has a crush on this cute lap-dancer. Who tries, against his grain, to do a regular job in a supermarket. And who’s clearly suffering health-wise from something bad.

The film succeeds on several fronts. It gives a fascinating insight into the world of wrestling, the steroid pumping, the faked stunts and choreographed moves, the enthusiastic fans and the strange lives of the wrestlers who reach their sell by date as they live for the autograph sessions and the weekends where they meet others of their ilk but have to somehow find a way to make the week go past and a way to keep the money coming in.

It shows Mickey struggling to get his life together – when he tries the job behind the fresh meat counter – he has some good days and some clearly bad ones. And some good customers and some clearly bad ones, who’re fussy and finicky to the point of distraction. His daughter clearly has no interest in her father and one doesn’t really blame her as you cant just turn up after several years, with a couple of gifts and hope to make things ok. He also has to find love and companionship and here he is irresistibly drawn into the arms of a cute lap dancer, but one who has strict rules about mixing business with pleasure.

But it succeeds most of all, in showing the ultimate dilemma he faces…whether to go quietly or to crash and burn in a blaze of glory ? As his abused body begins to protest violently, the medical opinion is clear – stop the drugs, stop the wrestling and take it easy or else. And Mickey tries, tries hard. For the sake of his daughter, Marisa Tomei and life.

For me, it was also fascinating to watch Mickey Rourke. The abiding image I have of him in my head is the chocolate faced yet devious boy/man in ‘Nine and a Half Weeks'. To watch him now, the muscle-bound, almost ugly, pumped up man was a bit of a shock and almost morbid in a way. It suited the character almost perfectly though, as you sensed a very similar life path and trajectory.

In the end the choice he took made sense and was beautiful despite the tragic undertones. As was the film….

1 comment:

Rohit Deep said...

Again my rating would be higher. I am beginning to like Mickey Rourke a lot. Transition from the role opposite Kim Bassinger is amazing. Marisa Tomei is always good. Really good movie over all