This is a drama about an aging professional wrestler, decades past his prime, who now barely gets by working small wrestling shows in VFW halls and as a part-time grocery store employee. As he faces health problems that may end his wrestling career for good he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring: by working full time at the grocery store, trying to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned in childhood and forming a closer bond with a stripper he has romantic feelings for. He struggles with his new life and an offer of a high-profile rematch with his 1980s arch-nemesis, The Ayatollah, which may be his ticket back to stardom. Written by
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Randy 'The Ram' Robinson:
I just want to say to you all tonight I'm very grateful to be here. A lot of people told me that I'd never wrestle again and that's all I do. You know, if you live hard and play hard and you burn the candle at both ends, you pay the price for it. You know in this life you can loose everything you love, everything that loves you. Now I don't hear as good as I used to and I forget stuff and I aint as pretty as I used to be but god damn it I'm still standing here and I'm The Ram. As times goes by,...
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A Broken Down Piece of Meat That Doesn't Deserve To Be All Alone
It's no coincidence that Mickey Rourke is responsible for the comeback performance of the year if not the decade. Rourke's life and tumultuous past parallel Randy "The Ram" Robinson's own life so eerily close it becomes clear that no one else could have ever played this role. Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature is not only his most intimate but also his most accomplished to date. Aronofsky offers his most simplistic film both visually and narratively and ends up creating a film that has more depth and layers to it than any of his previous films.
Everything about Randy's life is in a state of decay. He retains a body that is on the verge of collapse, he hasn't seen his only daughter in years, financially he is exhausted, and the only thing that brings him solace in life is the same thing that threatens to end it. The most effective aspect of Randy's character is that no matter what mistakes he might have made in the past his sense of regret is so strong and genuine that it is impossible not to forgive him. As beaten down and alone as Randy might be he never looses his fighting spirit or sense of hope, no matter how little it may be. Regardless what hardship Randy is confronted with he never retreats and is admirably courageous even if being courageous might not be the smartest settlement.
For the general public who tend to find professional wrestling laughable and are quick to judge as a form of entertainment rather than a sport will find a deadly adversary in Aronofsky. The Wrestler shows that while outcomes of matches may be fixed the physical tolls these men take on their body are often more extreme and long lasting than most other "respectable" sports. The fact that Randy gives so much of himself and is ridiculed from everywhere to the trailer park he lives in to the job he keeps while not in the ring, makes us even more empathetic to the struggle Randy goes through to try and make it back on top. Overall The Wrestler is a constantly engaging and compelling character study with some of the finest acting, writing, directing I have seen in recent years. Oh and I forgot, the last shot will leave you speechless.
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