Ever since being introduced to wrestling through the WWE by my two older brothers at a very young age, I have been a huge fan of wrestling. Admittedly, in recent years my obsession with the ‘sport’ has dwindled due to the realisation of its legitimacy as to be even named a ‘sport’. However my admiration for those that participate in the sport has never gone away, rather it has only grown stronger. Being a professional wrestler is not only a job, but is an obsession, a way of life and that is expressed beautifully in this movie, The Wrestler.
Plot and Opinions
Could the casting of Mickey Rourke in leading role Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson be any better? An actor of whom his own glory days seem a lifetime away depicts a washed up wrestler way past his own sell by date, and one who doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere anytime soon. Working what can only be described as local gigs, Randy is still pushing himself to the limits, performing to small crowds against amateur ‘opponents’. After a major turn in Randy’s health he is forced to contemplate life, most noticeably through his relationship with his distant daughter. From there Randy’s realisation of not being able to compete is truly heartbreaking and seeing him battle his demons is truly moving.
The wrestler is interesting in how it doesn’t follow the generic sports drama story line of being the best and beating everyone. It’s far deeper than that, it explores Randy’s struggle, obsession, and sense of loneliness just to stay in the game. Anything outside the world of wrestling is difficult for Randy, he evidently feels safe, secure and fits in that environment. From that it is great how the Director has managed to depict the lengths Randy will go to stay in that environment, spending thousands of dollars on various performance enhancing drugs, the complete lack of friends or family, all sacrifices purely to compete. It’s almost as if Wrestling is his coping mechanism, his bubble in which he can truly switch off and not have to worry. Everyone has their bubble, may that be gaming, music, chatting with their friends etc, however wrestling hasn’t just becoming a coping mechanism for randy rather his entire life.
Now we all know the job of a wrestler is to perform but it’s brilliant how the directors has depicted the juxtaposition between reality and performance. Represented beautifully in not only Randy himself but through Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) a ‘friend’ of Randy’s, being stripper at a local strip joint. Upon asking her out on a date, she changes unrecognisably so, not only through her obvious change in appearance but through her innocent, streetwise, gentile speech, a performance I can only but truly commend Marisa for.
Mickey Rourke (The Ram) – From a very small leading cast it is difficult to pick the most notable performance, even though this may be an obvious choice it is truly deserved. You can only truly commend the level as to which Mickey has immersed himself in this role. He dives head first (literally in some cases) into every scene, he never goes over the top, never over exaggerates, rather he gives a very real performance, that only adds to the sincerity of the whole film.
It is often difficult not to think of cliches and fictitiousness with regards to wrestling. This film goes way beyond the surface of the glittering, over dramatised main event fights and comical dialogue. The Wrestler peels back the layers, exploring the ugly side, the real life of amateur wrestling and how ones fall from stardom can truly effect someone whom is truly obsessed with their profession. The Film is paced extremely well and every scene and sub plot adds meaning to the overall feel of the plot. Even if you are ambiguous or have a sincere dislike for Wrestling, it is still a great watch and relatable to those who simply can not let something go. 9/10