The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky) 2008

The Wrestler is about Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a has been professional wrestler who is now working a lousy job and wrestling in bingo halls with crowds of tens.  Randy has a heart attack and learns from his doctor that if he wrestles one more match he could die.  At the same time, Randy is supposed to have an upcoming match with his most famous ring opponent: the Ayatollah.

I have to really bring up the trailer first.  Did they want to intentionally mislead us or are they just stupid.  The trailer would have you believe it is the ultimate feel good inspirational story of the decade.  It is not.  If you pay attention to the wonderful theme by Bruce Springsteen, then you know it is a look at a tragic figure.  It is not about professional wrestling so much but Aronofsky does put in a lot of knowledge and references to wrestling that fans will admire it all the more.

Randy is a man who is trapped in the past and obsessed with an image.  A line from the Talented Mr. Ripley more accurate than anything I can say “I’d rather be a fake somebody, than a real nobody.”  I don’t really want to go more into it because I want to avoid spoilers.  What really makes this movie is obviously Micky Rourke with both his real life parallels and and his performance.  Rourke hits every single note he needs to and is a career defining performance.  Evan Rachel Wood and Marissa Tomei also give good supporting performances but again the reason to watch it is Rourke.

This is a more conventional movie than Aronofsky has ever done but that does not reduce from the power of it.  This is one of the best movies of this year and I think it is a story that is accessible to everyone.  Hopefully it will get an even wider release so everyone can see it.  It is a wonderful movie.

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