A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.
The return of Mickey Rourke was overdue, a gifted and talented actor, who in my opinion was wrongly shunned and marginalized because of his past attitude and behaviour which marked him as a "bad boy". Hollywood surely likes to sometimes punish its own, especially those individuals who don't repent and crawl on their knees asking for "cinematic forgiveness" from their peers. What happened to Mickey Rourke was pure hypocrisy on the part of an industry that has no problem tolerating much, much worse behaviour on the part of less talented individuals; an industry that from time to time seeks to attain some kind of superficial saving grace marked by a phony mea culpa and a symbolic sacrificial lamb, in this case Mickey Rourke. I ask, how is what he did any different than the behaviour of let's say Lindsay Lohan, whom many critics where at one point anointing her as the next Jody Foster or Merryl Streep?!?!? Talk about self-imposed blindness! When I last saw Rourke in "Sin City", I was, albeit briefly but forcefully reminded, of how good of an actor he really is. So imagine my pleasure and anticipation when "The Wrestler" came out! At heart this is a story of redemption, but here comes the kick, it is actually an attempt and ultimate failure at redemption, at least in the sense that redemption is understood in today's society. This is a profoundly sad movie, but that fact does not take away one bit from the movie, rather it makes it more believable and even more powerful.
As Bruce Springsteen's song by the same title points out, there are some wrongs that can't be righted and some wounds that can't be mended, and that is the situation Mikey Rourke's character finds himself in. I don't want to discuss the movie in detail, nor give anything away from the plot or storyline, suffice to say that this is one viewing that is more than worth sitting through from beginning to end.
Rourke, Marisa Tomei (another grossly underrated actress) and Evan Rachel Wood are phenomenal and really hold their own and make the most of their on-screen time. Whatever award nominations and wins these actors are likely to get are more than deserved. Darren Aronofsky has really grown by leaps and bounds in his solid and varied career as director. I am personally glad that he decided to helm this project, the end result speaks for itself.
Ultimately there is redemption to be found in this movie, but it comes at a heavy price, to me that redemption takes the form of the triumph of the human spirit against insurmountable odds and seemingly impossible choices. These days that is a bold statement to make!
- Jan 21, 2009