Friday, January 9, 2009

The Wrestler

This movie answers the questions a)what happens to middle aged wrestlers b) what happens to middle aged pole dancers and C)who britney spears sells her ratty hair extensions to when she is moving on to a weave. Mickey Rourke (extension recipient) is the wrestler- the Ram- who is now on the B level circuit with the other older, worn down pro wrestlers. His life is wrestling- and we learn that for that, he has given up his health, his pension, his home and his child. Rourke does a really masterful job of being the man who tries to conform in order to win back his child and regain his life, but he cannot escape the love of the beating he gets and gives in the ring. Some fake, some not. The only female he has any relationship with is a pole dancer played in the buff by Marisa Tomei. She has a face so real and so honest that the fatigue of such a damaged life shows in every scene. Rourke's daughter is played by everyone's favorite crazy, real life chain smoker and Dita Von Teese wannabe, Rachel Evan Wood-and she doesn't disappoint. Rourke, who hasn't been able to claim the title everyone's favorite crazy, pulls off the wrestler with an oddly sweet disposition. The rage is in the ring. He is the friend of the kids in the trailer park, the tentative suitor, the penitent but flawed father. He is so sure he deserves it, that he allows himself to be stapled with an industrial staple gun in the ring. It is as if the ring itself is the punishment he feels he deserves for being so unconnected to the average world. The tragic mask of Rourke's miserable real life plastic surgery adds more poignancy to the character he plays. I am sure there are critics who will give this movie 4 stars. But I'm going to deduct just half a star. But certainly it was very close. If you are wondering what happened to Rourke- here is a good article.