Thursday, January 15, 2009

'The Wrestler'

Mickey Rourke plays a version of himself and every other faded star. He’s great.

Marisa Tomei plays a version of the hooker with a heart of gold who’s been around since cinema began. She’s risky.

Evan Rachel Wood plays the angry abandoned daughter archetype. She’s pretty good.

And the wrestlers are great fun; unsurprisingly sweet-natured and kind to each other.

But the film itself…

Well…it’s not that it’s not very good - it’s a well-made, honest little drama of the kind that looked original in the early 90s (think Soderbergh and James Marsh at the beginning of their careers) but there’s nothing in this film that I haven’t seen before. Stories are stories are stories, I suppose; and there aren’t too many to go around, and I’m delighted to see anything that denies the quick fix cosmetic ease with which movie characters often resolve their problems - even ‘Changeling’, perhaps the bleakest story I saw at the cinema this past year, had to have a ‘happy’ ending of some kind. Am also, as listeners will know, a fan of Darren Aronofsky - ‘The Fountain’s one of my favourite films, and ‘Pi’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’ are so effective at building a mood of dread that I don’t ever want to see them again. But ‘The Wrestler’ is a B-movie; I think what saves it is that that’s what it seems Aronofsky was trying to make.


Fat Roland said...

I've just got back from seeing it, and I think you're bang on the money. I kept feeling I'd seen things before - but the open ending made up for it all.

paul.chambers said...

i heard the best bit was mr springsteen as the credits roll....

Desibeo said...

The ending was spoilt for me in the trailer (no spoiler to come). Normally I don't watch trailers, but I sometimes look up from closing my eyes and blocking my ears to see if it's finished yet. I did that *just* as (what I automatically knew would be) the last image of the film came on. Bleurgh! Trailer makers should be shot. "Kill them all!"

The thing that sums up this movie for me is in the film itself -when one character is talking to another, describing The Passion of The Christ, saying "the whole movie is everybody beating the shit out of him -you'd like it" (or words to that effect). Clearly, Aronofsky is drawing comparisons -and he has a point. The Wrestler is the same movie. I can't say I liked it, for that reason -I don't really want to see someone get kicked to bits for 90 minutes- but I like the "bigger tale" it told.
In short, I liked it better when it ended.
(And I liked Pi, but thought Requiem laughably baad. I'm fairly sure I'd dislike The Fountain.)

Arwen Mitchell said...

I went to see it on a "date" with my husband, lol. He was much more affected by it than I - which is saying something, as I was plenty affected. He brought up what I think is the most potent aspect of this movie - that it shows how people get stuck in doing things, just for money, just because other people want that from them. It's not bleak so much as it is heartbreaking. It should be heartbreaking. I prefer it to Requiem, I think there's more going on here that Christians can and need to relate to.