Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Wrestler

Over the past week I’ve been seeing a lot of movies, one being “The Wrestler,” starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei.

I didn’t set out to see “The Wrestler.” I had ordered tickets online for “Last Chance Harvey” but when I got to the Hollywood theatre I realized I had bought the tickets for the Sherman Oaks location. With only ten minutes to show time I would never had made it over the hill to the valley. What a dumb ass, huh?

The theatre attendant took pity on my stupidity and let me exchange them for one of the films showing in Hollywood. Hence “The Wrestler” and not “Last Chance Harvey.”

I took my seat and waited patiently, enjoying the previews, not knowing if the movie would be any good. Yeah I’d read good reviews, but wrestling as a sport doesn’t interest me and a two hour movie about it wasn’t on my “must see” list.

“The Wrestler” is the story of washed up over-the-hill wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke) who refuses to retire even though he suffers a near fatal heart attack. His relationship with his estranged daughter he’s incapable of repairing, and his relationship with exotic dancer Cassidy (Tomei) comes too late. He’s damaged and only feels alive when he’s in the ring.

What I liked about the film is that the characters are real, and the film never expects us to pity them. They are who they are whether we like them or not. I do wish that the father/daughter relationship was more than the typical “you were never there for me” cliche. It deserved more.

“The Wrestler” is often brutal both in and out of the ring, but engaging nonetheless. Both Rourke and Tomei give powerful award worthy performances; a comeback for him and a reemergence for her.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mickey Rourke earns an Oscar nomination, and wins.

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