The Wrestler (2008)

“The Wrestler” (2008)




This is a disappointing Aronofsky experience and a great Mickey Rourke performance.

What we have is a film about a performer. Wrestling has all to do with physical acting abilities, as well as striptease. So Rourke and Tomei act performers. Actors who play actors, that’s where we stand.

About Rourke: his character mirrors his personal life, that’s probably why he was cast, and certainly why he was so enthusiastic about it, as he himself admitted. A former star, someone who created lasting impressions on the minds of those who saw him in golden years, but who eventually becomes a burnt down star, performing low gigs, with a ruined personal life. This trivia is probably the key to the success of this performance. Mickey Rourke is not as sophisticated as an actor as other ones. Because he spend most of the 90’s doing other stuff and living a late childhood, he didn’t progress as an artist as other actors did. But in the meanwhile he probably lived sad and terrible facts in his life. So now we have this. The reason why we trust so much in his acting here is because it sound so sadly honest. Here he is guts and heart, he is as much committed to the job as the wrestler he performs, whose life is on the ring. Rourke has a straight forward mind – you only have to read his political commentary to get that – but so does the wrestler he performs. So, what we have here is perfect casting, and true commitment. Such honest acting should and must be enhanced, it is rare to watch. Watch the first scene after the meaningful condensed credits, with Rourke sitting alone in an empty room, in the backstage of a performance. It’s a perfect synthesis of what this is all about.

Now, this would make a simple film by some lesser director good enough. But this was directed by the man who gave us “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream”. So it’s not good enough. OK, it’s a character study, the way the camera constantly and ostensibly follows Rourke’s back shows it. This was to be a film about Rourke, and i even admire Aronofsky having erased himself to enhance Rourke. But on and on, there’s not many things to admire here. So, as many times happens, it’s not a matter of what Aronofsky does here, it’s about what i know he could have done, because i saw his other films. Some wrestling scenes are good, because he denounces the fakery of the whole thing, and at the same time puts her inside the scenes, contributing for making it real for our eyes.

My opinion: 3/5 for Rourke.

This comment on IMDb

Fantasporto 2009


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