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The Wrestler
BLU-RAY disk
04.23.2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Wrestler order
Director:
Darren Aronofsky

Actors:
Mickey Rourke
Marisa Tomei
Evan Rachel Wood

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A sudden heart attack forces an over the hill wrestler to re-evaluate his life and come to terms with the fact he may have to give up the one thing he loves most.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Growing up a huge fan of wrestling, I immediately knew I’d enjoy THE WRESTLER. The story was an overwhelming look at what happens when the spotlight goes out, the ring gets torn down and the crowd goes home. In light of this approach, admittedly the pace is kinda up and down, but Mickey Rourke’s riveting performance gives a tremendous sense of humanity to his character making you care a great deal about what happens to him. From the fan based adrenalin inside the ring, to the accumulative physical pain and mental anguish waiting for him on the outside, for me, Mickey’s eyes captured the essence of Randy “The Ram” Robinson perfectly.

I enjoyed the minor details here most of all, like the truth about steroids, the concealed razors, Marisa Tomei’s exposed rack (despite the fact it came ten years too late), the comradery between these men and how they were so gentle outside the ring but with the flip of a switch became the caged animals people screamed for. I wasn’t very impressed with the Ram’s spoiled lesbian daughter though, I felt she could have been just a little more understanding. And overall I couldn’t help but feel somewhat detached from her and Tomei’s story arcs. Loneliness aside, I found the Ram’s major conflict to be more a personal battle he had to face on his own, yet these two women, (for the most part) just took turns kicking him in the nuts. Not exactly the support he needed.

I enjoy Aronofsky’s work behind the camera, and most notably his eye for detail. Rest assured this time his vision is much easier to understand (unlike THE FOUNTAIN which was literally all over the place), his focus here being the various complex layers that make up Rourke’s dramatic character. There’s definitely a rare sort of magic to be found here, however I do feel (like Aronofsky’s previous films) this is another title I’ll no doubt only watch a couple times. But armed with a powerful, warm your heart ending (which is exactly what I was rooting for), at least I can say I got what I wanted for a change.

THE WRESTLER is a great drama flick to kick back and open up to, whether you’re a fan of wrestling or not. Your heart will go out to the Ram (like mine did), especially during his scenes in the deli or my personal favorite, when he’s playing wrestling on the Nintendo with one of the neighborhood kids. People like to say wrestling is fake, but as this film so boldly illustrates, for these tremendous athletes the sport of wrestling is EVERYTHING, and whether they like it or not, it consumes them. I can’t stress enough how happy I am to see that all the gut wrenching sacrifices these people make for our entertainment, are finally getting the acknowledgment and respect they deserve.
THE EXTRAS
Within the Ring: Director Darren Aronofsky and company certainly prove they’re willing to go the distance to bring us something special. From real wrestlers, real crowds, to filming in the moment, no detail was left unchecked. Great job fellas!

Wrestler Round Table: A true treat for wrestling fans, featuring thoughts and secrets from some of wrestling’s greatest stars of yesterday. These guys LOVED the movie and couldn’t give Mickey enough praise. It was really cool to see.

“The Wrestler” Music Video: Bruce Springsteen’s hauntingly beautiful song he wrote for the movie. I still think he got shafted on the awards front. There's also three trailers that play before the feature.

Disc Two is the Digital Copy, perfect for anyone constantly on the go. Or if you need to come up with an on the spot gift idea!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Again, wrestling fan or not, this movie’s certainly worth a watch. Rourke brought his A game here and it shows, giving the guy a much deserved push back into the spotlight. The boys over at the WWE worked him into Wrestlemania 25 for a reason: Respect. And you don’t get that by making a “just cashing a paycheck” fluff movie. And though the cut looks fantastic on Blu-ray, no need to double dip as like I said, this is a flick you’ll probably only watch once or twice.
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