Friday, March 6, 2009

Rourke Shines as "The Wrestler"

The Wrestler is the sad, uninspiring tale of a professional wrestling superstar from the 80s who can't seem to escape the headlock the industry has placed on him.

At one point, Randy "The Ram" Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke) was ontop of the world as heavyweight champion. He lived the high life often sacrificing his personal life and health to entertain enormous crowds packed into America's largest arenas. 20 years later, he's washed up.

Robinson's no longer in "the big show." Instead, he's performing in armories and rec centers on the weekends for a measly payout. During the week, he works at a grocery store to make ends meet.

The movie follows "The Ram" Robinson as he searches for his real self, Robin Ramzinski, following a heart attack. He enlists the help of a good-hearted stripper (played by Marrisa Tomei) and his estranged daughter. Can "The Ram" shed his charismatic in-ring persona and live a normal life? or will he always be "The Ram"?...even when everyone else in his life wants Robin.

Rourke does an amazing job. Unquestionably, it's an oscar-worthy performance. I can't say the same for Tomei. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and I'm not really sure why. She's far from memorable.

I'm not sure that I'd recommend the film to someone who isn't at least familiar with professional wrestling. Like many sports-theme movies, it's not really about a sport. But, it certainly helps to understand it.

Sadly, this tale could be about many once-superstars who once headline pay-per-views and now simply hope to land a spot in the next independent show coming through Abilene...for a $50 paycheck. Though it's not based on a true story, it easily could be one. For anyone who's followed professional wrestling, they'll understand the true tragedy of this film.

It's the story of so many promising people who've gone before their time. It's the story of people who confused fans for family...and ended up all alone. 3 of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Hm... maybe the "industry" isn't something we should get behind, then. I'm just sayin. Ahem.