Tuesday, April 21, 2009
DVD Pick: The Wrestler
A bruised and beaten Mickey Rourke in full lumbering nice guy swagger mode is the main attraction in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler. The film, penned by Robert Siegel, tells the story of a Hulk Hogan type down on his luck pro wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Rourke), who was once a big star and is now a novelty item at regional shows who lives in a trailer park (when he can afford it) and makes his fun by playing as himself in an old Nintendo game with neighboring kids. His life is grueling and unsatisfying and it only gets worse from here. In an early scene, Randy's favorite dancer at the local strip club, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), makes an off-handed reference to The Passion of the Christ and the comparison sticks, in metaphoric terms. Randy is a good man who suffers mercilessly in the ring for the enjoyment and satisfaction of others. The film can be best read as a testimony to the sacrifice of an artist to his audience. Randy is put slowly and surely through trials and torment both inside and outside the ring and ultimately Aronofky's ambiguous ending suggests something dark and completely transformative: The Passion of the Hulk.