The Wrestler (2008)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Robert D. Siegel
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marissa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Reviewed By: Sammy the Blade
To start off, there were a few things that were learned from this movie, a list of three things, which is perfect on account of that fact that it takes a count of three to win a wrestling match…so here we go: 1) wrestling apparently is not real, no matter how much you believe 2) Mickey Rourke looks pretty damn bad, and 3) Marissa Tomei is still pretty damn hot. But all joking aside the film The Wrestler is the resurgence of Mickey Rourke to your television/movie theater screens.
Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke) has been a professional wrestler since his teenage days, and even though he is approaching dreaded middle age, and is in the twilight of his illustrious career, his life long passion of wrestling won’t jump off the top turnbuckle of retirement. Ram is definitely approaching the end of the professional career, and wrestling has really taken a grave toll upon his body. He is virtually all alone in the world; his family is non existent; he’s divorced and single, with an estranged daughter that he hasn’t seen or spoken to in years. He’s living in a trailer somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, with nothing really to live for except wrestling. He is miserable, lonely, broke, and the only people that are in his life are his co-wrestlers, and a stripper, Cassidy, played by the still very beautiful Marissa Tomei. And for those of you with gutter filled minds, might be wondering, since Marissa Tomei is playing a stripper in the film do we get to see a little skin? The answer is, watch the movie and find out, maybe you will see a thing or two.
Ram was once the big marquee headliner in the wrestling business, but all good things come to an end, and unfortunately for Ram, the ref might be counting to 3 quickly, as retirement begins to pin The Ram to the bloodied canvass. Even though things are not going all too well for Ram, he is still pushing through life and through his passion. Ram has been working his fists to the bone with nothing to show, other than a broken down body, no family, and a laundry list of back installments owed on his trailer. Randy ends up arriving home (if you can call it a home) late from a match, and is harshly greeted to finding different locks on his trailer door. Even though it is late, Ram tries to wake the landlord of the trailer lot (nice job title) but he does not answer, and Ram is forced to sleep in his creepy child molester looking van. But he is awakened by children surrounding the outside of his van. These children are the (annoying) children that live in the community, but some of The Rams biggest fans, and they are nothing but excited to see that he is finally home. They are screaming at Ram to get up and get out of the van to come wrestle with them, and though times are terrible for him, you can tell that he does not want to let them down, because he gets a massive amount of joy out of putting a smile on their faces.
The next match is quickly approaching, and when the big day finally comes, the wrestling coordinator brings up an opportunity for The Ram that is just too good to pass up. The coordinator asks Ram what he would think about wrestling his old arch nemesis, The Ayatollah. The idea is brought up because it was one of the biggest matches in wrestling history, and the clash of these two enemies of the past would be a great reunion and show for the fans. Ram agrees to do the match, but something goes terribly wrong at the match which forces Ram to end up in the hospital, as he suffered a heart attack in the locker room after the bloody match. The match is pretty gruesome, so for the faint of heart, watch out, you might want to close your eyes. To give you an idea of what happens in the match, before the match starts Ram and his opponent are going over the flow of the match. The opponent asks Ram if “he is okay with staples.” As in a staple gun shooting staples into the human body…that cannot feel good.
So because of the brutality that the Ram inflicted and was part of, along with the use of performance enhancing drugs over the years, he suffers a near fatal mishap, which really puts his life in perspective. Because Ram feels as though things might be coming to an end very soon, he feels the need to have to patch things up with his estranged daughter. However, a man has to make a living, unfortunately, his doctor instructed him that wrestling is probably out of the picture, he must find a new line of work. Ram doesn’t have any other lines of work, wrestling is all he knows, all he will ever know, and all that he cares to know. This part of the plot has a resemblance to The Shawshank Redemption, when the prisoners were released from being lifers in prison, and end up killing themselves or committing a crime to get back in the big house, because they don’t know how to survive in that type of lifestyle.
Ram is conflicted on what to do, and begrudgingly takes up more hours at the super market (a job he works on and off at night in the delivery department between wrestling events) However now hast to work at the deli…and deal with the customers. There is a pretty funny and dirty humor, line when Ram is asking his boss what working at the Deli counter is like and it is sure to make you laugh. At first Ram is timid and not really all that comfortable dealing with the direct public, but as time goes on, and as many cheeses are cut, he really beings to warm up to the customers, and it does seem like he enjoys what he is doing. The transformation of Randy the wrestler to Randy the deli clerk is well done, with good dialogue and the scenes are quite enjoyable.
Since his retirement from wrestling, Randy has started hanging out with his stripper friend Cassidy (Tomei), and their relationship is starting to become more than a lap dance in the VIP room. This is something that has been missing in The Ram’s life for a while, and you can see the change in him as this newly kindled friendship/love interest is sparking his life into what looks like a whole new direction. As things are going great for Randy in one aspect of his life, other things are not going as well. He still has the dilemma of patching up his relationship up with his daughter. He has fought to hell and back in the ring, but this seems to be the last straw for The Ram, as he finally breaks down and cannot handle it anymore. There is only one thing that he is good at, and that is wrestling. He is going against his doctor’s will of getting back into the ring against his old arch rival, the Ayatollah.
The scene leading up to the match is where the line of the movie comes from, as he is addressing the screaming crowd of fans before the match. The lines are moving and powerful and really capture the soul of the character that Rourke plays. The line was beautifully written and performed and couldn’t have been done any better. The end scene leaves a lot to the imagination and is something that makes this film even more special. Spoilers will not be told of what happens but you can figure it out as the scenes are building and the plot is unfolding.
This film is truly one of the best that have come out in the years past and should be on everyone’s list to see because it really is that good and is a great story, great cast, and is filled with action, drama, and even a bit of comedy. Also, Bruce Springsteen wrote the song at the credits, titled “The Wrestler” which appeared on his Working on a Dream Album. The song’s lyrics really bring out what this movie is about and really paints a picture of what Randy “The Ram” Robinson was. From beginning to end, The Wrestler goes by fast, and you will want to watch it again as the credits roll up your television.
Suplex Line of the Movie:
Randy “The Ram” Robinson: “When you live hard and you play hard and burn the candle at both ends…in this life, you can lose everything you love, everything that loves you. A lot of people told me that I’d never wrestle again; they said “he’s washed up,” “he’s finished,” “he’s a loser,” “he’s all through.” You know what? The only ones gonna tell me when I’m through doing my thing, is you people here. You people here…you people here, you’re my family.”
Rating: 3 Guys