Reviewed Mar 03, 2012
Pete Foley’s review:
This is such a un-Hollywood movie, which is a big reason why I enjoyed it so much. All the beats it hits are so different than what you'd expect. It's not an easy film to watch, both visually and thematically. Heavy use of steady-cam gives it almost a documentary feel at times, and the violence during the wrestling scenes is visceral and hard hitting. The hardcore match in particular is actually quite horrific.
'The Wrestler' is a profoundly sad film. At its heart a tragedy, but not just throwing you a sad scene at the end like a lot of tragedies. Randy "The Ram" Robinson makes the wrong choices throughout the entire film. Watching his journey is like watching a train-wreck in slow-motion. You want him to just snap out of it, but he can't because he's simply doing what he knows and what he's always done. Mickey Rourke completely embodies this character. It really is a remarkable performance. Every single time he is on screen you can see twenty plus years of taking bumps on the mat in the way he carries himself. As the character himself says, he is "an old broken down piece of meat", but despite his rapidly deteriorating body he keeps going, and keeps wrestling because he feels that it is the only thing that defines him.
The supporting actors are impressive also, particularly Marisa Tomei. Her character is really a mirror of Randy in many ways. She is stuck in her role as a stripper, despite being past her prime and wanting to quit. Evan Rachel Wood is good also in the few scenes she has.
Overall, a truly touching and sad film. Well worth repeat viewings!