*** Official THE WRESTLER Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Thi Them, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    I saw it a few hours ago, and it is still haunting me.

    A lot has already been said about Mickey Rourke's performance. But I'll start off with saying that Darren Aronofsky has probably never been better with his directing. First off, all three actors deliver their finest performances under Aronofsky. Gone is the visual flair of his previous films, but Aronofsky brings an immediate documentary feel that fits the story really well. He's able to use ordinary locations that depict this lonely and bleak world the wrestler tries to blend into. Some say it's shot in a standard way, but I disagree; the shot selection is quite impressive, sometimes you have a bird's-eye-view or a fly-on-the-wall's view of Rourke's isolation, at other times you are brought up close to the physical in ring pain of Rourke and his emotional pain. There's also 360 degree rotating shots, POV shots, and a brilliant tracking shot. Aronofsky's sound design is also there but like the visuals, quite subdued but nonetheless highly effective.

    The screenplay is great. There are some familiar elements from other sports movies, but there is an ambguiity and complexity unseen before, and things don't always turn out as you'd expect. It's a deeply moving character study, but it has some hilarious bits, especially if you know your 80's and wrestling. It gets wrestling right and will give many people a new respect for it.

    I haven't really seen much of Rourke in his early years. But this is an incredible performance, reminding me of Brando in On the Waterfront. It's unflniching and honest, and in the end you'll find yourself heartbroken for the man. For the role, he put on a lot of muscle and trained for the wrestling, and as a wrestling fan, I have to say he acts the part of a pro wrestler better than a good number of pro wrestlers themselves. Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood are excellent, as well.

    It's currently playing in LA and NY and will open wide in a month. Highly recommended.

    ~T
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Wrestler". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.


    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    I saw this last week and allowed it to percolate before dropping a review in. It's an exceptional film with an incredible lead performance (and very solid supporting ones). I can't say I loved it, because it didn't completely resonate with me. That is no fault of the film itself, with is nearly impeccable in it's details and sense of time and place. Rourke is really spectacular, and the film is gritty and morose. There is some great black humor sprinkled throughout.

    It's a pretty tough movie, and cements Aronofsky's brilliance.

    That said, it's Rourke's movie.

    9.5/10
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    "The Wrestler" features a tour de force lead performance by Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" Robinson who is at least 2 decades past his wrestling prime, but still wrestles in very small venues to make ends meet, as time in the ring has ravaged his body and finds that his life currently rings rather hollow for his circumstances.

    Director Darren Aronofsky takes a documentary-style approach to a story told very linearly, as the story gains a foothold when Randy is finally at crossroads with his life in and out of the ring. Aronofsky is very economical in his choices because the story is about Randy coming to terms with his past while trying to come to grips with an uncertain future while seeking a state of grace.

    In service to such a basic "aging athlete down-on-his-luck as time betrays his body" story, the straight forward manner in which the story is told sheds a much more intimate insight into Randy's daily existence, and into the human condition itself, and how his flawed humanity lends itself to mirroring the inevitable human journey from youth and virility to wisdom and frailty.

    Given such a storytelling device, character motivations aren't dwelled upon, but rather we simply experience how characters relate to one another based on hints from past transgressions (mainly between Randy and his estranged daughter, played by Evan Rachel Wood in a very good supporting effort), and the same goes for his dalliance with a stripper, Cassidy, who's a bit long in the tooth for her line of work (Marisa Tomei is certainly up to the task, and still in marvelous shape) which parallels Randy's own personal earnings struggles while performing in the ring (or on the stage for Cassidy).

    It's a well-told story, but sometimes I think the quasi-documentary style creates just enough of a wall between the viewer and the film that it's only slightly undermined by its lack of sentimentality, but it's a minor quibble of a fine film that features a powerhouse performance by Rourke, one that I am 99% positive will garner him a Best Actor nomination next week when they announce the Oscar nominations.

    I give it 3.75 stars, or a grade of A-.
     
  5. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    One of the best films I have ever seen. A brilliant lead performance. I loved the documentary style and the cinematography. A deely moving film -- I can't stop thinking about it. That "wall" mentioned above actually made me appreciate it more. I found it as purposeful as the camera that moved off of DeNiro in Taxi Driver so we couldn't see his embarrassment. Filled with details, nuanced performances and great music -- it's one everyone should see.

    *****/*****
     
  6. Carlos_E

    Carlos_E Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this film over the weekend. Like Chuck said earlier, I have allowed it to "percolate". Great performances all around. Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood (whom I had never heard of prior to this movie but gives an outstanding performance as the daughter), and of course Mickey Rourke. I was not a big Mickey Rourke fan coming in to this movie but I am now. What a POWERHOUSE performance. A man past his prime struggling with his limitations and making the best of it. Fantastic. That Golden Globe award for best actor was well deserved. The Oscar nomination is well earned as well. Also great soundtrack for those of us who grew up in the eighties.

    I think one of the greatest compliments you can give a film is that you want to see it again. I will be seeing "The Wrestler" again. And not just in the distant future but this coming weekend. It is that good.

    Carlos
     
  7. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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    9/10

    Gritty, gritty film. Not for the faint of heart. Great performance by Rourke. Will be tough to watch again because of how heartbreaking it is.
     

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