Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke's comeback performance isn't really a comeback.
The guy has been working consistently since 1980. He has had big roles and small roles, but he has been working.
He is back in the lead role spot, but it's been only a few years since he was there. 2005 had him in major roles in Domino and Sin City with fantastic results.
The Wrestler is being heralded as his big splash back on the scene. Apparently only films that beg for award season attention are big enough to be called a comeback.
Randy 'The Ram' is a washed up pro-wrestler who reached the pinnacle of his fame in the 1980's with his high profile bouts against the likes of The Iron Sheik.
Now he is trying to scrape by on matches in high school gyms and run-down clubs. The years have certainly taken their toll.
Rourke's performance is certainly solid, as is the storyline of the movie. Award-worthy is another matter entirely.
This glimpse into the soul of a broken man is intriguing enough to keep you entertained, but not an epic masterpiece as so many critics seem to think.
Comparing this to director Darren Aronofsky's prior films takes away a bit of the luster. With more cerebral fare like Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain under his belt, Aronofsky's portrait of a broken wrestler on a downward spiral seems almost pedestrian.
The Wrestler breaks no new ground in film making, but does serve the audience better than most of the films out in recent months.
The character stops just short of heading down a messianic path as he seems to be building to redemption, but falls short. An ending that leaves the audience with less than what most people expect, but which I felt separates it from most other sports movies.
The supporting cast are also solid, but nothing spectacular.
I'll give The Wrestler a B-.
--John Berry, Online Editor--


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