“The Wrestler.” – DVD Review.

By Bob Zerull

5 Stars:

I never wanted to be a Pro Wrestler. I liked it as a kid, particularly Bret “the Hitman” Hart, but it never interested me as a dream profession. As a fan of wrestling you take for granted what those guys go through, because the storyline is fake. You wonder why these two guys who hate each other are sitting next to each other getting along when you see them outside of the business. Has anybody seen that video of Sid Vicious jumping off the top rope only to see his leg below the knee snap and go the wrong way? Go to www.youtube.com and check it out. It’s sick.



In Darren Aronofsky’s (“Requiem for a Dream,” “Fountain”) “The Wrestler,” Mickey Rourke jump starts his struggling career. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a performance like this. Mickey Rourke was robbed of an Oscar. I’ve seen Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in “Milk,” and he was fabulous, but Mickey Rourke was his character Randy “the Ram” Robinson.

Randy is a wrestler that was once the headliner in the main event at Madison Square Garden. Now he’s limited to high school gymnasiums local rec centers. He’s a selfish man outside of the ring, but once he gets in that ring he’s selfless. He’ll do whatever is asked of him, whether it’s having another wrestler use a real staple gun on him or falling on thumb tacks, he’ll do whatever it takes to make the match the best it can be.



Outside of the ring Randy hangs out at a local strip club and buys dances from aging dancer Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). When we’re introduced to her character she’s performing a bachelor party and the guys in the party want a younger hotter dancer. Her story is very similar to Randy’s. The difference is that she’s not proud of what she does. She couldn’t be farther from a stripper in her other life. Both Randy and Cassidy are nearly 2 decades past their prime.

Randy eventually has a heart attack and finds out that he can no longer wrestle. He’s forced to get a job in a deli serving meat. He figures out quickly that he’s nothing without wrestling. Cassidy convinces him to reconnect with his long lost daughter played by Evan Rachel Wood. She wants little to do with him. Once she finally accepts him as her father he goes and screws up again.

“The Wrestler” is a great story on multiple levels. The wrestling aspect of it alone is interesting. Watching the struggle of this man who has lost the one thing he truly loves (which unfortunately is pro wrestling) deal with it, is an incredible story. His priorities aren’t right. He controls his own destiny yet keeps messing up. It’s like following Scott Weiland or Robert Downey Jr. You keep hoping they can stay off drugs and then they get arrested again. “The Wrestler” is one of the top three best movies of 2008. “Gran Torino” and “The Dark Knight” were the other two.



BYLINE:

Bob Zerull is a frequent movie and concert goer who talks about his ventures to arenas and theaters more than any person should be allowed to do. Now, he puts them down on paper. Email him your thoughts at: bzerull19@gmail.com. Also visit: www.cadaverchristmas.com.

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