There are few films I have been more anxious to see in recent months than The Wrestler. I have heard great things from pretty much every critical corner and Mickey Rourke is being touted as a major Oscar contender for this role. Director Darren Aronofsky is getting all sorts of praise which is looking good for boosting the buzz around The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg and Brad Pitt which he is also directing. But this film is all about Mickey, Mickey, Mickey. Rourke plays Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson who, after being forced to retire from the minor wrestling league due to a heart condition, finds himself sad and alone. Rourke plays a role that is as suited to him as Tony Stark aka Ironman was for Robert Downey Jr. Described as a washed up piece of meat trying to find his way back to human, the character of Ram is executed to perfection by Rourke in a standout performance. Credit also needs to be given to the two fine supporting actors Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood who this film would be nothing without. The Wrestler isn’t shot in some avant-garde fashion like recent critical smash Hunger (blah), instead Aronofsky uses a hand held camera for majority of movie. He makes you feel like you’re part of Ram’s life, following him through his highs and lows. To combat this simpler style of camera work Aronofsky also uses several other beautiful techniques which truly cement his position as a skilled director. Personally I found the wrestling scenes difficult to watch but undoubtedly they’re choreographed very well and executed to perfection by Rourke and the many other wrestlers starring in the film.
My consensus? I loved it. I especially loved how Aronofsky didn’t overdo anything and instead let the story and superb performances take the audience on a sad, touching and truly magnificent journey. Every glowing review this movie has had, it deserves. Like the title character, The Wrestler is raw and confronting but if you can get yourself along to see this you won’t regret it. The Wrestler opens this Thursday, January 15 at most main stream and art house cinemas so be sure to get in early.