The Wrestler

Viewed – 13 April 2011  Blu-ray

Director Darren Aronofsky certainly grabbed my attention earlier in the year with the stunning Black Swan, even if I feel he was robbed at Awards time.  Never the less, I was immediately intrigued as to what he had done previously, and naturally this much acclaimed sports drama caught my eye.  An ageing professional wrestler Randy ‘the ram’ Johnson (Mickey Rourke) lives for the celebrity status and the persona granted to him in the ring, but when a near-death experience forces him into well-overdue retirement, he begins to re-evaluate what’s important in his life … starting with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).

The gorgeous Marisa Tomei plays an equally past her prime stripper who Randy turns to and confides in but is never able to get close to.  She delivers a complex, provocative performance and really should be a bigger name than she actually is.  Evan Rachel Wood however is a bit bland and offers only a glimpse of the emotional range she showcased in earlier roles like Thirteen.  Yet this is obviously Rourke’s movie and he is stunning in a heart-breaking but likable role that even though Randy is very much his own worst enemy, I couldn’t help but sympathise with him.  Aronofsky has crafted a moving and very rewarding movie, with a brilliant screenplay by Robert D Siegel that like ‘Swan offers a spotlight on a profession from an unseen perspective, and therefore makes for a very satisfying and fascinating experience.

Verdict:  5 /5

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