The Wrestler – Review (Film)

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After being one of the most talked about films of the year, I was looking forward to seeing The Wrestler.

I was a big fan of wrestling when I was a kid… Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and the rest kept me entertained for many an hour (check my Wrestlemania Game Review for a flashback to the past).

It’s interesting to me how badly some of the stars were treated by the various federations over the years and having read a little about the film and real life wrestlers responses to it, it appears that with The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky has nailed what it’s like to be a wrestler.

The film tells the story of faded 80’s wrestling superstar Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, who has been left wrestling at the weekends in small run down venues for independent producers.

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The after effects of a particularily gruelling match, having built up over time, leave him hospitalised and he is told not to wrestle again.

As Randy tries to adapt to a normal life outside the ring and piece together what little he has left in his life, we are treated to a superb performance from Mickey Rourke.

This is emotionally charged stuff and Randy struggles without the driving force of an upcoming match to keep him going.

Marisa Tomei is also great as Cassidy, a stripper who genuinely cares for Randy and whose situation, though less desperate, almost mirrors his own.

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This is gritty and brutal subject matter, both physically and emotionally – The Wrestler doesn’t pull any punches – and Aronofsky shows the violence during matches in full flow.

The characters are well developed and the story moves at a nice pace.

There are plenty of stand out moments in the film but for me Randy’s long walk to start his shift on the deli counter at his supermarket job, with a wrestling crowd added as audio, is so well done that it has to be my favourite part.

The Wrestler is a sad, depressing but ultimately touching film – irrespective of whether you have any interest in wrestling this is a film that everyone should check out.

Rating 8/10

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