Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Wrestler

This Darren Aronofsky film has been one of the most anticipated in film circles forever now and strangely opened Christmas day on one screen only here in Toronto. This might have explained why the screening I caught actually had people STANDING at the back to catch it which leads me to this little bit of advice.....if you are a "serious" film head by all means catch it in this fashion, if you know even the slightest thing about professional wrestling wait for the crowds to die down as I swear you'll want wan't to jam a jumbo sized pop and popcorn down the throats of the elitist peckerweeds twittering around you. I fall under both categories so let me speak to the snobs first and get it out of the way. Aronofsky has done a great job with this and he presents this story in a truthful, gritty and honest way....for the most part. I have a major problem with the father/daughter element. It't real enough but the way Aronofsky presents it's comes off as forced and cliched. The interaction with Marisa Tomei is perfect until we get ot the climax and there we have the same problem as mentioned with the daughter....forced and cliched. It should be noted Tomei actuallly has the most challenging role here and her work in pole dancing class sure payed off and I don't say this from the pervert perspective, I say this in critic of her acting. She nailed the role bang on and speaking of bang on let's talk about Mickey Rourke. This is not the great rebirth of his acting life the critics will have you believe. I've siad it before and I will say it again, he never went anywhere, on the otherhand he is fucking perfect for the role...but is it a stretch for him? Yes and no. We all know of his "real life" boxing career and I would go as far as to say THE WRESTLER is really just a remake of HOMEBOY but dealing with the ballet of violence. He certainly takes his method acting style to extremes, he did train, the wrestling is all his as is the blood, in fact, I gather the only thing not real in this film is one very prominent scar which I'll let you discover for yourself, trust me, you'll know it when you see it. As for the drama, it's a very open performance, so much so you don't think he's acting hence why som many people compare this to his personal history and the connection is certainly a valid one. There is only one scene where you see vintage Rourke acting and it involves a fight between he and Tomei which will make you literally go "aha...there's the Mickey I was waiting for". All in all it's a solid piece of work and I'm happy to say Aronofsky ends it properly which had me a bit concerned waiting for it.
Now, to the wrestling itself.
Sadly fans will be split on this one. The style and technique is standard and legit til we get to the hardcore match. It's a great display but it's too over the top and Aronofsky shouldn't have done it this way. The rest of the film is so real it's should have kept it that way and said match sticks out like a staple to the forehead! Good visuals, but not real. The other aspect fans will be upset about is in my mind one of the film's will not recognize the wrestlers. Most will now Ernest "The Cat" Miller but he's in the main event so that's fine, and there is a quick cameo from Ron "The Truth" Killings but only true die-hard will know of Necro Butcher and the rest of the CZW ensemble. Johnny Valiant makes a brief appearance in one of the most heart wrenching scenes in the film but even the most seasoned vet will have a hard time picking him out! As for who the "wrestler" is styled on....well...that is open for debate. I don;t see the Mick Foley aspect many are on about other than the overinflated hardcore far as character goes Rourke is closer to The Ultimate Warriror, sans face paint, in style which will tell most fans all they need to know about the wrestling level. As for the character itself, anybody familiar with the BEYOND THE MAT documentary will have a bloody hard time keeping Jake "The Snake" Roberts out of mind!
As for the peckerweeds I mentioned earlier, they kept laughing at all of the wrong parts, serious back stage incidents and the audience was howling, and then you of course have to listen to this limp dicked shits pontificate on all they supposedly know about wrestling which is why you'll want to hoof them in their nonexistent cubes!
To sum it all up, THE WRESTLER is not a masterpiece but it is one mighty damn fine film and you'll love all of the old 80's metal for sure!


Anonymous cj said...

OK...I really had no intention of seeing this movie yet anything that would cause you to have such a commentary reaction I must admit...makes me want to see what all the fuss is about. Il let you know... :)

12:19 PM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Your best review EVER! I pretty much agree with you 100% and how often does THAT happen heh heh.

Really good review. I made a quick comment under "Domino" too.

12:06 PM  

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