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The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky's 2008 dramatic film about a down and out professional wrestler.

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Star-cross'd lovers

  • Apr 12, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
You can't help but wonder at the autobiographical aspects of The Wrestler - for all his spandex and the lank blonde hair and the self-mutilation, at a very visceral level Mickey Rourke isn't entirely acting this. I have read some comments that this is a film full of cliches redeemed by Rourke's performance but (whilst not taking anything away from Rourke's outstanding performance) that's harsh. For here is a tragedy: Randy the Ram is, at an almost biological level, a performer: it is only as a performer that his life has any value even to him, let alone anyone else, and he is only ever in his element - the sparkle returns - when he is "performing". Thereby performance becomes a means of communication outside the ring, too: rough-housing with kids outside the van he's been sleeping in, delivering egg salad, Cocktail-style, to elderly ladies over the deli counter at the local supermarket or carousing with the wrestlers, who still lionise him, backstage. Aronofsky's camera reinforces this point - we track behind Randy's head not only as he strides out to the ring, but as he marches out to the deli counter and marches in to meet the gang backstage.

That performs as a way of living is fascinatingly counterpointed by his only (half-way successful) real life relationship, with Cassidy, a stripper, in many ways a very similar sort of a performer (we frequently also track behind Cassidy's head) but dispositionally the negative image: for Cassidy is *condemned* to perform to live (i.e. to earn a crust), and for her, performance is the only part of her life that has no meaning, and is the part she is most desperate to leave behind.

That Randy has the misfortune not to apprehend this drives the drama in The Wrestler. Cassidy and Randy are star-cross'd lovers: the two connect only when he's not performing and (QED, since he's a customer) she is. Like oil and water Cassidy feels forced to keep him segregated from her real self, within the context of her life as a performer; he wants her only outside of his. That is the tragic dilemma around which this film revolves, and while it may be constructed out of hackneyed archetypes it overcomes them handsomely.

Olly Buxton

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More The Wrestler (2008 film) reviews
review by . August 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I gotta find some of Randy's old matches on Collisum Video
One of thing things I learned after following pro wrestling a few years back is what happened to those names I used to hear about all the time like Jake Roberts and Lex Luger.  I never heard about them dying considering what big names they are, and then I learned a bitter truth.  Those big names and they're big lifestyles came crashing down.  Jake Roberts and Lex Luger were the inspirations for the character of Randy "The Ram" Robinson who is the focus of The Wrestler.   …
review by . February 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****      Well, this is rather surprising; Darren Aronofsky directing a sports flick. How about that? So how well does this little stunt pull off? Well, I'll tell you, and believe me; you're going to be surprising. As it turns out, Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" is no stunt at all, but that's not to say that it's the kind of film that you'd expect out of the guy either. Mr. Aronofsky's follow-up to his ambitious, flawed, but indefinitely artsy "The Fountain" proves to …
review by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
WHO HE WAS TO WHO HE IS - TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH HIM
      THE WRESTLER      There have been films made before about wrestling and by wrestling I mean pro wrestling, but none like this. This film is the portrait of a man who is coming to terms with his own mortality, literally and also for his craft. There have been many things said about this movie but there seems to be one constant, and that is Mickey Rourke's masterful performance. For those who have not seen this I can tell you right now that he was …
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2011
Washed up 80's wrestling superstar copes with his rockstar days long gone and living day to day in a very non glamorous life. Runs the rollercoaster of touching, hard, fun and sad.
review by . July 15, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Yin and Yang
WARNING: This review contains spoilers!      There are certain fundamental aspects of American culture in the 1980s that I found to be, for lack of a better word, repugnant. The crassness of commercialism was everywhere, politics went straight to hell as Reaganites celebrated American Right-wing supremacy, music fans suffered through the pangs of the glam rock movement and the superficiality and the hedonistic excesses that it embraced, and the yuppies on Wall Street were idealized …
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Mickey gives the kind of performance that we all knew he still had in him. Marisa Tomei was equally amazing.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Powerful movie that depicts the side of wrestling and sports that we may not think about, getting older and dealing with trying to continue doing something you love.
review by . February 01, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
Stories that delved into the inner human spirit and tales about redemption have been beloved by critics since anyone can remember. Small wonder, since films that exhibit pure humanity can undoubtedly touch the hearts of audiences--it is a premise that is both fascinating and quite easy to relate to. Inspired by the documentary "Beyond the Mat", director Darren Aronofsky's "The WRESTLER" is a film with a lot of things to say, and may well be Mickey Rourke's best performance; this role may indeed …
review by . December 28, 2009
This movie was a huge and pleasant surprise for me.  I thought it would be more about the wrestling sport/soapstory.  Instead we get a compelling tale of a man that was so into the wrestling game that he ignored the rest of his life.  Mickey Rourke plays a wrestler nicknamed The Ram, who can no longer persue wrestling so he soon realizes that his "real" life is total misery and he really has nothing outside of wrestling.        Ram tries to rekindle …
review by . December 08, 2009
A Gripping Look into the Lifestyle of Professional Wrestling, but a Little Over Hyped...
Growing up a wrestling fan and knowing the business inside and out, The Wrestler hit home in a lot of ways.  I wasn't just a wrestling fan, I used to idolize these guys and perhaps one day, be one of them.  As I got older and was able to differentiate what was real and what was fake, I felt I was able to connect even more with them and what they go through because of all the inner politics that go on in the industry.  The minute the film started, I was blown away at just how well …
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Olly Buxton ()
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Wiki

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 ...
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Details

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport
Release Date: December 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Robert D. Siegel
DVD Release Date: April 21, 2009
Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Wild Bunch, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Protozoa Pictures
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