Friday, 17 July 2009

The Wrestler

The film centres around the character played by Mickey Rourke, who plays a once famous wrestler, but who is now a washed up version of his former self. In his heyday, he appeared on the front cover of magazines, sports journals and television. Years later, where the film picks up, we see him working in a supermarket, wrestling at the weekends for rent money.

The film focuses on Randy 'Ram' Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke), and his relationships with his daughter and lap dancing girlfriend. The two key elements that make this film special are the direction by Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), and Mickey Rourke.

Darren Aronofsky uses an almost fly-on-the-wall style of direction at times, where you really feel as if you are getting up close to Randy's character. He also bases the film around small town America, which adds a level of authenticity. There are no glamorous apartment blocks or shopping malls. Instead, we see a side of America that rarely makes an appearance in films, but which probably shows America as it really is, and this in itself is refreshing.

Mickey Rourke is mesmerising, and delivers a power house performance. He plays Randy with equal measures of rawness and pathos. It is hard not to feel sympathy for his character. He is a shadow of his former self. He struggles to pay his rent, sleeps in the back of his van, has a broken relationship with his daughter, and struggles to cope with his fall from fame and glory.

The scene where Randy opens up to his daughter, where he explains to his daughter why he made so many mistakes as a father, and is now trying to make amends, is truly genuine and touching. There are small details that add to the film, such as the fact that Randy wears a hearing aid. This is never directly referred to in the film, but there are a couple of scenes where Randy has to ask people to repeat what they have said.

I really enjoyed this film, and would strongly recommend anyone who has not seen it to watch it. You will not be disappointed.

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