The Wrestler

The Wrestler

The Wrestler (2008). Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

The Wrestler is a film where art really does imitate life. A washed up professional wrestler (Mickey Rourke) decides to get back in the ring for one last fight, even if it kills him. Years of steroid abuse and countless cage matches lead up to a heart attack that puts him into retirement but he can’t live without the roar of the crowd. They are all he has left.

At one point in his career, Rourke gave up acting to take up boxing. He’s back in a starring role as Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson that many believe will give him an Oscar nod. The film has already won the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice film festival and it created quite a buzz this week at TIFF.

Darren Aronofsky has taken a simple story and made it into an incredible film. From an early age I disliked wrestling. I always saw it as a phony and over the top. The Wrestler has all of these elements but with Aronofsky’s direction and Rourke’s exceptional performance I completely bought into the film and the characters.

There was a large guy (300 lbs) sitting beside me at the screening and he became very involved in the action. During several fight scenes he was noticeably flinching and recoiling in his seat at some of the violence. How ironic is it that a film about wrestling can seem so real? Great filmmaking.

I was surprised to hear Bruce Springsteen sing the title song over the closing credits — a perfect ending to a great film. This is a must see for Mickey Rourke’s performance alone.


Films are rated from 1 to 4 stars.

TIFF’08 - The Wrestler

Posted in 2008 TIFF at 9:53 PM