Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Wrestler.

Never would I have thought that Mickey Rourke, actor of R-rated movies like 9½ Weeks (1986) and The Wild Orchid (1990), last seen with a heavy makeup as Marv in Sin City (2005), would have starred in this 2008 drama about a washed up former superstar wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson, real name Robin Ramzinski, whose life now is reduced to renting out a cabin in a trailer park, doing whatever jobs available for him at a local supermarket and spending time in a strip joint. Whatever glories he experienced when he was at his peak 20 years ago has left him; now he is broken and all alone. Still clamouring for past glories, he wrestles during the weekend, taking a cocktail of drugs to maintain his performance and keep in shape. Based on some interviews I read, the director, Darren Aronofsky, insisted for Mickey Rourke as the lead whose tale is somehow loosely reflective of Mickey Rourke's often turbulent real life persona. Mickey Rourke certainly drive this movie and his acting is somewhat natural and managed to bring out heart-wrenching moments in a subtle way. He also looked different, somehow aged alot, possibly because he underwent some surgery on his face during his brief stint as a boxer. The beautiful Marisa Tomei also gave a strong performance as the aging stripper, Cassidy. What is shocking is a full nudity shot of her, something I could only imagine previously ;) as her previous roles are usually quite modest. It is no wonder that both are nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. One memorable moment is perhaps when Randy is rejected by his estranged daugther (Evan Rachel Wood) for missing a dinner date with her. Before that, his attempt to get close with Cassidy is also brutally turned down. This is the turning point in Randy's life. All hopes seem to fade and suddenly blown away. From there, Randy concluded that only in the ring will he still be accepted and loved. Only his fans, who still chant his name every time he climbs into the ring, will he be still recognized, without any emotional backlash. This pulls him back to the world where he has attempted to move away from. Thus he agreed to the main event of which is life threatening because he had just underwent a bypass due to all those years of substance abuse. Cassidy, realising her folly in rejecting Randy after a subtle scene whereby nobody take notice of her anymore nor give tips whilst on the center stage, desperately persuade Randy out of the final match. In the final scene, although his opponent pleaded for him to conclude the match, he climbed up the rope, despite the ever-growing pain in his chest, and executed his signature move, The Ram Jam...then the movie cut to black. I will never know whether Randy survives or not. This is definitely not one of those feel good Rocky movie...more in the vein of Million Dollar Baby (2004). The movie also offered the audience a slight glimpse into the daily going on of the wrestlers, and one particular hardcore match involving Necro Butcher with Randy is really hard to swallow. Definitely one of my favourite movie right now.

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