The Wrestler


The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

The tail end of the career of an old, broken-down professional wrestler.

I’m glad I didn’t see that Darren Aronofsky had anything to do with this movie til it was over, because The Fountain left such a bad taste in my mouth I probably would never have seen it.

But I didn’t know, and I did see it, and it was very good.

Mr. Otter and I were having a day at the local movie theater (actually two theaters, two movies at each). I had made a list of six movies I might want to see, and we ended up with four between 11:30 am and 9:30 pm. This was the first, and we both enjoyed it very much.

Mickey Rourke is WONDERFUL in this movie. I had also liked him very much as Marv in Sin City*, couldn’t have cast anyone better for the role, but there wasn’t much acting needed, he was just a big tough guy down on his luck. But in this, Rourke carries just about the whole movie himself. There are plenty of other people, but the camera is almost always on him. And he is really, really good. Very believeable as a wrestler who was famous twenty years before, and now is reduced to local auditoriums for almost no money, and fans who remember him back when.

You can really see what his life is like, and the problems he has, and what a dead end he’s in. One thing I liked is that there’s a scene where he’s lying in bed in his mobile home reading a paperback book, and is halfway through it. Nice they made the point that he’s not stupid, something they show several times without beating one over the head with it…it would have been easy to present him as ‘too stupid to do anything else with his life’ but instead, we are shown a man who loves what he does and used to be good at it, but can’t do it any more.

Marisa Tomei plays the girl he likes, who works in a strip club (which occasioned a later discussion chez Otter about how, in the scenes where she is dancing, one can see that her nipples are pierced, which led to a debate about whether it was fake nipples with rings glued over her own, or computer special effects…pretty amusing…) And although she is stone gorgeous, you can see that she’s getting too old to be doing this too, and is trying to figure out what to do with HER life.

Mr. Otter, who hates organized sports with a fervent passion, actually liked this one (which I thought he would not, I was surprised he even wanted to see it) because you get to see the kind of planning and choreography and play-acting that go into a wrestling competition like this. That was another really great part of this movie.

But Rourke is the focal point of it all, and he is so worth watching. See it in the theater or rent it, you’ll be glad you did.

*I looked up Rourke on IMDB to see how old he is, I’ve been thinking he’s about 35 or so…but no! He’s EVEN OLDER THAN OTTER, by a couple of years. And yet he still lives and breathes…

I also looked at his (pretty long) list of movies to see if I had seen him in anything besides Sin City…and there was a movie called Once Upon A Time in Mexico. Hm, I thought, why didn’t I see that? it came out in 2003…that’s wierd. I should have seen it and reviewed it if it came out then. And I checked my review page…AND I HAD REVIEWED IT. And had FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT IT.

I suspect that this has more to do with the quality of the movie itself than my rapidly aging memory…

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