Moving at times
Some humour amidst the pain
ConsNone for me
Wrestling is not high on my list of favourite sports. It is a sport which I would never normally dream of watching on Televsion but for some reason I quite fancied watching the film The Wrestler.
However I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Yes, I had seen some clips of the film but that did not give me much of an insight into whether or not this film would suit me. I had also seen a muscled up Mickey Rourke who plays the lead in this film, with his long dyed blond hair, but that was about it. Even Mickey Rourke was pretty lost on me, as I did not think that I had seen any of his earlier films.
Fair enough Rourke had been away from acting for some time, pursuing a boxing career, but it seemed as if the period of time when he was acting, had somehow just passed me by. Still, as I have already said, for some reason or another I quite fancied watching The Wrestler and I have to say that I was not disappointed.
Rourke takes the lead role as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, an aging American Wrestling star, who is way passed his prime. Life has taken its toll on Randy and circumstances see him still wrestling when he should be retiring from the fight game. His big name professional days are long gone and now he is fighting in the lesser fights.
The film opens with some bizarre wrestling matches that, although a little staged and rehearsed by the fighters, are painful to watch, to say the least. If this is a true reflection of Wrestling in America, it shows that, despite many wrestling bouts been staged, the fighters do get hurt. Randy's final fight sees him battered and bruised, with a body full of staples and glass. The staples being punched into him from a staple gun used by his opponent, whilst they were in the ring.
Alone in the dressing room life finally catches up with Randy and he suffers a heart attack. This will finally mean that Randy has to try and find a new path in life and take a little stock. He tries to form a reconciliation with his estranged daughter but, just as her defences are down, he fails her.
Realising that he will become just another broken down wrestler, trying to sell his merchandise, he tries to change his life. He manages to find work, of sorts, and attempts to develop a relationship with a woman friend, but his life is never easy.
I won't spoil the plot further but here is a little general information about The Wrestler.
There are some semi nude and sex scenes in this film which I guess are not suitable for young viewers. Personally, I found some of the fight scenes so well done, that these were a little gruesome, and not suitable for family viewing. The Wrestler also includes some drug and a little bad language. All in all then this film, quite rightly, is rated for the adult viewer.
I absolutely loved the musical score of this film which had tracks from the 80's by such rock heroes as AC/DC and Guns and Roses. I noticed that the credits had a special thank-you to Axl Rose but I was not sure why. Unless, it was the fact that he gave permission for the use of GNRs music. The end listings also stated that Slash, also from the original GNR line-up, had added his guitar talents to the musical score.
I also loved the way this film was shot. I don't know if I can express what I mean, but I will try. It almost felt as if The Wrestler was a documentary, or fly on the wall, programme much of the time. For me, this worked really well.
There is some humour and bitter sweet moments in this film. There are also a few tender moments along with the rough and tumble. On the whole, I feel this film was less about the Wrestling and more about relationships and life. The film shows Randy's desperate attempts to start a life outside of Wrestling, when he is forced to make that decision.
The cast were excellent but were mainly unknown to me. Both Mickey Rourke and his leading lady, Marisa Tomei, were nominated in the 2009 Oscars, for their performances in The Wrestler. Rourke has already won a BAFTA for this role, and Tomei was a BAFTA nominee for her role in this film.
Yes. See this film. I loved it. For me everything worked and I was truly surprised that it did. The Wrestler may not appeal however to ardent Wrestling fans.
The Wrestler has been available on DVD since early 2009 and has a running time of 109 minutes.
As the final credits roll we hear Bruce Springsteen singing a poignant song about a one trick pony, which was fitting, summed it up and made me shed a tear.
Overall this film is excellent.