johnlink ranks THE WRESTLER (2008)

This one might warrant a longer essay at some point. I have to say that it had less wrestling than I expected, but a lot more heart.

I’m someone who grew up watching wrestling. Randy Savage was one of my first heroes as a kid. I stopped regularly watching when the Chris Benoit tragedy occurred. I was extremely jaded, and found it hard to be entertained by guys knowing that odds are they’d probably be dead in ten years.

This movie, THE WRESTLER, really comes at you in a unique way. You expect The Ram to be a little more confrontational in his real life. You expect he’d be more worried about coming across as a tough guy. But really, you get this real portrait of a human being (well two of them, if you count Pam) who is just trying to survive in a world that’s moved on without him.

I watched THE WRESTLER (2008) in the theater on 1.28.09. It was my first viewing of the film. It certainly will not be my last.



Some might find it slow in places, but they’re missing out. The mise-en-scen in this film is spectacular. There are no wasted shots. Some of my favorite pictures from the movie occur when Randy (Mickey Rourke) awakens after an accident. He is in a hospital bed, looking no more physically able than the elderly man next to him. Another favorite is him walking through the interior of a supermarket as if he is preparing to enter a full arena. We hear what he hears in his head. He makes a GRAND entrance… into the meat packing facility. This entire movie is just well toned, well stated. It only fails to get a perfect ranking because I felt there were one or two areas where there could have been a bit more. But I’ll get into those in the writing section… SCORE: 9


Darren Aronofsky does not make fun movies per se, but there is no denying their watchability. I think I liked this better than some because of my knowledge of the wrestling industry. But I’m happy to say that I would have no qualms about referring this film to someone who knows nothing about it. SCORE: 8


I rarely give perfect scores. There is almost always something to pick out. Especially in the acting department. There’s always someone who doesn’t quite match up. Not here. Rourke is a force. Marisa Tomei is layered, and vulnerable. Evan Rachel Wood, who I know little about, breaks your heart. Just as importantly, the guys they got to represent the competitors and the fans are all spot on. SCORE: 10


I love the fact that the two leads both have a stage name that has become their true persona. I love that Randy is allowed to be such a good guy in the face of terrible situations. I love the shop talk in the wrestling scenes. However, I do think the relationship with his daughter is a bit cookie-cutter. You see what’s going to happen there. Maybe that’s the point, the inevitability of it all. But I think it could have been gotten to in a little bit less cliche way. Also, I would like to have seen something on how these guys do what they do without the benefit of health insurance. I know Aronofsky tried to pick up the torch for unionizing wrestlers while promoting this film, but if you aren’t familiar with the industry, that message wouldn’t come across particularly well. SCORE: 8


Awesome 80s metal = SCORE: 1


FILM: 9;  MOVIE: 8;  ACTING: 10;  WRITING: 8;  BONUS: 1



~ by johnlink00 on January 28, 2009.

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