Robin Ramzinski, ring name Randy "The Ram" Robinson, (Mickey Rourke) is a professional wrestler who was a major star in the 1980s but is now years past his prime and wrestling on the weekends for various independent wrestling
promotions in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. After a show, a promoter proposes a 20th anniversary rematch with his most notable opponent, the Ayatollah (Ernest Miller), who now owns a used car dealership in Arizona. Their first match together sold out Madison Square Garden, and Randy agrees to the rematch, wishfully thinking this high-profile match could help him get back to the top.
- Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" Robinson/Robin Ramzinski
- Marisa Tomei as Cassidy / Pam
- Evan Rachel Wood as Stephanie Ramzinski
- Todd Barry as Wayne
- Ernest Miller as Bob / "The Ayatollah"
Also appearing in the film are actual professional wrestlers: Blue Meanie, Johnny Valiant, Ref Hanson, Tommy Rotten, Andrew Anderson, Brolly, Danny Inferno, Necro Butcher, Mike "RAGE" Miller, Paul E. Normus (who died in early 2009), Nick Berk, DJ Hyde, Havoc, Johnny Mangus, Billy Dream, Eric Cobian, Sabian, Nate Hatred, Sugga, L.A. Smooth, Whacks, Devon Moore, The Funky Samoans, Jay Lethal, Jim Powers, Kid USA (as Randy's stunt double), Ron Killings, Claudio Castagnoli, Romeo Roselli, John Zandig, Chuck Taylor and Nigel McGuinness.
The Wrestler is a 2008 drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Ernest Miller. Production began in January 2008, and the film premiered at the 2008 Venice Film Festival in August, winning the Golden Lion Award. Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired rights to distribute the film in the U.S.; it was released in a limited capacity on December 17, 2008 and was released nationwide on January 23, 2009.
The Wrestler was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on April 21, 2009 in the United States. It was released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2009.
The mystery of Mickey Rourke's career comes to a grungy apotheosis inThe Wrestler
the much-battered actor's triumphant return to the top rope. He plays Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a heavily scarred and medicated battler who's twenty years past his best moment in the ring. But he still schleps to every second-rate fight card he can get to, stringing out the paychecks (more likely a fistful of cash) and nursing what's left of his pride. His attempts to adjust to a more normal kind of life form the most absorbing sections in the movie, whether it's flirting with a stripper (Marisa Tomei is in good form, in every sense), establishing a bond with his understandably angry daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), or working behind the deli counter at a nondescript megastore. Rourke is commanding in the role; he obviously spent hours in the gym and the tanning salon, and his ease with the semi-documentary style adopted by director Darren Aronofsky allows him to naturalistically interact with the colorful real-life wrestlers who crowd the movie's ultra-believable locations. All of which helps distract from the film's overall adherence to ancient formula. You might find yourself waiting for the scene where the risk-taking Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream
) pulls the switch and reveals his true motives for pursuing this otherwise sentimental story, but there's no switch.The Wrestler
is an old-fashioned hoke machine, given grit by an actor who doesn't seem to be so much performing the role of ravaged survivor as embodying it.--Robert Horton
Stills from The Wrestler (Click for larger image)