Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

#239 - 'The Wrestler' (2008)


"The only place I get hurt is out there. The world don't give a shit about me." 
- Randy 'The Ram' Robinson.
In the 80's, Randy 'The Ram' Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was a famous professional wrestler in his prime. 20 years on, he is still working small fights at the weekend and working part time at a supermarket. Struggling with personal and health problems, Randy tries to sort his life out - attempting to re-establish his relationship with his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and confronting his romantic feelings for a stripper, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), he frequently visits . A rematch between his old enemy 'The Ayatollah' is scheduled, but will Randy's health hold out for the showdown?
'The Ram' in action.
Rourke delivers a convincing and brutal performance as Randy. He very much looks the part. The film feels very real and the behind-the-scenes planning of the wrestling matches was interesting to watch. The different wrestlers discussing how they are going to approach the upcoming match, musing on which moves they are going to use on each other. At one point, Randy tapes a razor blade to his wrist and uses it on his forehead to draw blood. The physical strains that he goes through inevitably start to take their toll. The effects of professional wrestling are also clear on Randy's life outside the ring. There is no extra work going at the supermarket and he is struggling to rekindle his daughters interest in him.
Ouch.
The retro action figures and video game were a nice touch. The pixel-fest wrestling game featuring 'The Ram' and 'The Ayatollah' was great. I could have done without the child trying to explain 'Call of Duty 4' to Randy. That was just blatant product placement and annoyed me. They said 'Call of Duty' at least eight times. Ugh. Give me 'Wrestle Jam!' any day:
Can't beat a bit of retro gaming.
I really enjoyed this film. Rourke and Tomei were both good screen presences and at times it had a documentary feel to it. The scenes with Randy and his daughter went from heart-warming to heart-breaking. You empathise with both characters as you can see it from both sides. Without giving anything away, I thought the ending was good. It is open for interpretation rather than giving anything definitive - making you think rather than serving it on a plate. I like that in a film.

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