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
I caught an advanced screening of The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke last night in Hollywood, CA. Following the screening was a Q&A session with Mickey Rourke, Darren Aronofsky, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and film composer Clint Mansell.
Mickey Rourke delivers one of the most honest and heart breaking performances I've seen from an actor. Very rarely do you see an actor come back with such a role. He is truly extraordinary in The Wrestler. There are times in this film when I wonder just how much of this is Mickey in character as "The Ram" or Mickey reacting as Mickey to a situation similar to what he went through in his "lost years". The parallels are astounding. There is a scene when Randy "The Ram" is in the ring and he points to the audience "It is not over until you tell me it's over". Is it Mickey or Randy talking there? As a newly revived Mickey Rourke fan, I can tell you this audience member says it's just beginning Mickey!
Marissa Tomei delivers a stellar performance as an aging exotic dancer the parallel story to Mickey's character "The Ram". Evan Rachel Wood really brings it as "The Rams" angry, abandoned and emotionally exhausted daughter. The chemistry between Mickey and Evan is breath taking!
Darren Aronofsky delivers this story to us with honesty, realism and artistic skill. I think this young director will be around making fantastic films for some time to come. At least I hope he is!
You can't go wrong with this film. It is rock solid to the core!
Facts from the Q&A
Only the 3rd American Film to with the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
The film was made for $7 Million.
The filmscore is more atmospheric as the composer did not want to interfere with the documentary feel of the film.
Mickey Rourke trained for 6 months to get to the wrestling weight of 235 for the film. Weight training, wrestling training and eating 5,000 calories.
The scenes of Mickey Rourke and Evan Rachel Wood were as real as they could get. The actors put on music before the scene and just talked about their real life and Mickey's parallels to the film. When the director felt they were there he would yell action and they would work through the scene.
The scenes back stage with the wrestlers were all real as well. The crew would go to wrestling matches and film the wrestlers before/after matches. Mickey would walk in and introduce himself (in character) and the scene was improvised.
The film was about 20-30% improvisation from the actors.
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