Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Wrestler

ALMOST: (Darren Aronofsky) In a word--disappoint. In more words--I hate that this movie gave Mickey Rourke the platform to come back into film as none other than himself, glorified. The Wrestler is the story of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a wrestler who reigned in his day, but has since lost it all , living in a trailer park, fighting for peanuts and working the deli at the local grocer. No one knows him anymore, and he can't find his niche outside of the ropes. When a heart attack threatens his comeback indefinitely, he finds himself on a downward spiral, through which he grasps at a last minute relationship with his daughter and desperately strikes up romance with a loyal stripper. The story is well-told, a perfect mirror to the dazed and confused existence Ram is forced to live out. The story is disconnected, hopeless and a perverted glimpse into the world of wrestling. The story (bravo, Robert D. Siegel) is certainly not wherein the problem lies with this film--it is with Rourke. Sure, he was good in Sin City, but who really had to act in Sin City. Casted perfectly to play up his brusque personality, the film needed nothing but brawn and an ugly face. In Wrestler, he plays the same character--out to mend the things in his ragged world, but getting the shit kicked out of him along the way. Rourke holds onto this role as his comeback, but in my opinion (and certainly just an opinion) he hasn't come anywhere. He plays out his sad, real-life story in the form of a wrestler. Bottom line, to make Aronofsky's work shine as it should, someone credible should have been picked. Evan Rachel Wood plays her five minutes in the spotlight well, but I do wish we had seen more from her. (Blast that parallel of disconnect). Marisa Tomei literally puts herself out there here, showing us she still has a rockin' bod at age 45 (ding ding, another great casting). The Wrestler was a well-told story, directed flawlessly, and packed with pristine, unique shots. Unfortunately, Rourke does nothing but drag it down (along with its audience), making it a grotesque illustration, rather than illustrating the grotesque.


Tim Rondeau said...

So what you're saying is that if you had never heard of Rourke and his past that this would have been a great movie? Just because he may not have stretched himself in playing that role shouldn't mean the movie itself should be a disappointment. Is your blog rating the movies you watch or the actors?

Jenni Williams said...

Good point. And looking at it that way, I believe Rourke is a one trick pony. He showed us gruff and he showed us sad. His character was flat, and the hopelessness we were supposed to see came across as pathetic. Also, I inevitably rate the actors within the films I review. The acting carries these films (and clearly make or break a good story) so when it's bad, the movie is out for me.