Review: The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke makes a comeback in this gritty drama about a retired professional wrestler trying to have a normal life

What drew me to this movie first was that many professional wrestling company's (Particularly Vince McMahon’s WWE) weren’t that impressed at first. This movie exposes a lot of what went on backstage at a wrestling show in the 80’s and probably the 90’s. They were quick to say that wrestling has changed, which I’m sure it has with all the drug policies they have intact now. But apparently they saw the publicity this film was getting. (and possibly took a note from their rival, TNA Impact who were never against it), now WWE airs tv spots for this film during their shows. This film is truly Rourke’s “comeback” from being a star in the 80’s, to a so so boxer, to this. His performance is amazing (as our his co-stars Tomei and Wood) and he’s completely passable as a beat up old wrestler. Some compare this performance with real life wrestler, Mick Foley. That isn’t fair. Foley is nothing like Robinson, and the comparisons some people have made either didn’t get the point of this film, or have never witnessed the career of the amazing Foley.

Randy 'The Ram' Robinson is fairly close to being a has been. He's old, not in the shape he used to be. He abuses steroids and lives alone in a trailer park. He tries to get close to his adult daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) but he always manages to mess it up. He works in a grocery story and does indie events when he can. He think he's got one match left in him. So when he's offered to fight his old rival 'The Ayatollah" he jumps at the chance. He meets a stripper by the name of Cassidy and becomes infatuated with her, but she realizes his path.

Being a life long wrestling fan, the movie felt very real to me. I obviously don't know all of the "behind the scenes" things that happen at wrestling events, but just seeing shots of the wrestlers talking about how they will be setting up their matches was great to see. The only issue I had with the film was it's bland ending. It builds everything up then goes nowhere with it. Still, it's a must see on the casts' performances alone. Rourke, Tomei and Wood are at the top of their game.

Recommended? Yes 4/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "I just don't want you to hate me.." - The Ram (Mickey Rourke)

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