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The Wrestler

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

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WHO HE WAS TO WHO HE IS - TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH HIM

  • Jul 4, 2010
Rating:
+5


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 screwed at the Academy Awards, that little golden man should have been his with out a doubt. I have been a fan of pro wrestling for a long time and while films like "Ready to Rumble" are fun for those days when you need to shut off your brain there has never been a serious film on it, until now.

The film follows Randy "The Ram" Robinson {Rourke} during the end of days so to speak for him, his days doing what he loves are coming to an end. Sure his prime is long behind him but the first part of this showcases that he still loves what he does [on weekends] until health issues arise. Add in the fact that he has an estranged relationship with his daughter { Evan Rachel Wood} and a weird one with a stripper{ Marisa Tomei}. So the film moves on through the emotional ups and downs of a half empty man with an empty life. As his time draws near he tries to mend fences with his daughter and purse a real stable relationship with a stripper named Cassidy. If all that sounds not so appealing to you and you shy away from this film you are making a big mistake. The journey this man takes is really an interesting one, we follow him from knowing who he was to finding out who he is.

Director Darren Aronofsky who has made such classics as The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, and Pi just to name a few has created another classic masterpiece. I love how he and DP Maryse Alberti brought a some what documentary style to this film, it felt real. Writer Robert Siegel did an excellent job crafting this tale, and should have at least been up for nomination for an Oscar. I am not sure if what I am about to say is true but I'll say it any way, I have heard that this film was based on the wrestling documentary "Beyond The Mat" [great film]. In fact in particular I have heard it was based on Jake "The Snake" Roberts's portion of the film, it fits with the alcohol and drug abuse and really fits the daughter portion.

Like I said earlier Mickey Rourke is masterful in this film and he should have won the Oscar easily, hands down it should have been his. It has been said that Rourke did not portray this character as much as the character portrayed him, he did an excellent job. Same can be said for the two female leads Evan Rachel Wood playing his daughter and Marisa Tomei playing his would be girlfriend stripper. Both of them do wonderful jobs with this film as both play very different but somewhat the same characters. They live very different lives and have different personalities but both act the same around Randy. Both try to stay away from him and avoid a real relationship but both find themselves drawn to him only to be hurt. Also Ernest Miller also known as "The Cat" a real life pro wrestler did a great job as The Ayatollah as do all the wrestlers in this film from TNA regulars Jay Lethal and Ron Killings [WWE] to ROH athletes like Necro Butcher.

When viewing this film you will find yourself laughing at times and sad for him at the very next moment, this film truly takes you through all the emotions. From the happy beginning to the last triumphant shot of the film you will be cheering for The Ram. Does he make back to the top one final time or is that last shot just one more misguided attempt at past glory, that is up to you. For me this is a winner and one brilliant film and I am glad to see the mainstream accepting wrestling again after the Benoit thing. This is a great look into what life for a pro wrestler who is still trying to be in the game can be like. Like I said this movie is about one man going from knowing who he was to finding out who he is, glad I could take that journey with him.

Here is the trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61-GFxjTyV0

WHO HE WAS TO WHO HE IS - TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH HIM WHO HE WAS TO WHO HE IS - TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH HIM WHO HE WAS TO WHO HE IS - TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH HIM WHO HE WAS TO WHO HE IS - TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH HIM

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January 20, 2011
I've never been a wrestling fan per se but this was one great film. It was undeniably powerful on many levels and I had to give Mickey Rourke his props once again. Darren Aronofsky did a superb directing job here. I can't wait to see his new film Black Swan. Great review!!!
 
July 13, 2010
I couldn't have said it better myself.
 
July 04, 2010
I loved every second of this film. Aronofsky really is perhaps my favorite director of this current generation of American filmmakers.
July 05, 2010
The director said in an interview at some point that it had roots in Jake "The Snake"'s portion of the documentary, the relationship with the daughter in particular. I may review that doc as well, I think this was mentioned during the film's pre release hype when Rourke was doing stuff with the WWE for Wrestlemania that year.
 
July 04, 2010
Very nice review. I liked this one a lot myself. This film was inspired by "Beyond the Mat" as I can remember. Great work!
July 04, 2010
Didn't mention that in the credits or on IMDb. What's "Beyond the Mat"?
July 04, 2010
it is a documentary about the real deal behind underground 'rasslin'.
July 04, 2010
Then I don't think so. According to the production info, the script was written by Robert Siegel, a former writer for The Onion, and was sent to Aronofsky's production company that purchased it.
July 05, 2010
Well, look for the interview with Siegel and Aronofsky. The things Rourke's character went through is similar to a lot of wrestlers problems....even including Mick Foley's life until he hit the big time.
July 05, 2010
Thanks WP, this film was great.
 
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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 …
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 …
review by . December 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Outstanding performances by principles; great supporting cast.      Cons: Predictable; slow in places     The Bottom Line: After all the hype surrounding The Wrestler, I expected more.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. When I was growing up watching professional wrestling on Saturday afternoons was a ritual in our neighborhood.  All of the “guys” on the street …
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Ranked #7
I basically am just a normal person obbsessed with Mixed Martial Arts, pro wrestling, movies of all kinds, music of all kinds, books of all kinds, and of course foods of all kinds. Just trying to keep … more
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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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