Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Movie Review: The Wrestler

Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, photo by Niko Tavernese

Mickey Rourke's performance in this film absolutely deserved the Golden Globe he was awarded Sunday night. He was this broken down wrestler. His character is so touching and sad, you just want to take him home and tell him everything is going to be okay.

From the opening scene until the end, you heart is breaking for this man who obviously has seen better days. I have heard Rourke say in interviews that he could relate to the character he was playing.

Rourke was the bad boy of Hollywood who gave killer performances in Barfly and 9 and 1/2 Weeks. Then poof... he was gone. I don't read the tabloids, but always wondered what happened to him. And now I wonder if he ended up living in a trailer or some rat trap off Hollywood Blvd.

Rourke thanked his dogs in his acceptance speech. He said they were the only friends he had for a long time. Must have been horrible to live on the fringe of Hollywood when you were once in the spotlight.

Mickey Rourke, photo by Niko Tavernese

Marisa Tomei plays an old stripper with a heart of gold. Tomei's character seems to mirror Rourke's in terms of the stage they seemingly love to be on and the cold reality staring them both in the face; their days on stage are numbered.

Rourke tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter played by Evan Rachel Wood. She plays her part perfectly. The scenes with the two of them are exactly what it might be like for the abandoned daughter and the guilt-ridden absent father trying to make amends.

Evan Rachel Wood and Mickey Rourke, photo by Niko Tavernese

Darren Aronofsky directs this film. While trying to get financing, Aronofsky was turned down left and right with Rourke in the lead. Aronofsky made the film on a very low budget. Seven million is what I heard. I am glad he kept Rourke in the lead. A very good call.

Robert D. Siegel wrote this screenplay. I do not know anything about this writer, but wonder if he is an old wrestler. Or maybe he lived next door to an old wrestler in some trailer park in Anytown, USA. If not, he did one hell of a job with his research.

Without giving the film away, I just want to say that I love when we are shown Rourke's character, Randy the Ram, fiddling with his hearing aid, playing video games with neighbor kids in his trailer, and when he is working at the deli. His interaction with the customers are priceless.

Mickey Rourke, photo uploaded on Flickr by robiffic

Also love when he is at a convention of sorts where wrestler's are signing autographs. Rourke is in a room with other old wrestlers. At one point he looks down the leg of one guy and sees his urine bag sticking out of his pant leg. Made me weep.

I am torn between three stellar performances this year for the upcoming award season; Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, and Frank Langella. Although all performances are great, I think I want Rourke to win. Rourke's career desperately needs a win for the SAG and Academy Awards.

Sean Penn and Frank Langella will continue to work until the day they die if they want. However, Rourke may end up on the fringe again when he deserves the spotlight. This man is a truly talented artist and deserves our forgiveness for whatever he did. Everybody deserves a second chance.

Mickey Rourke at the Golden Globe Awards, photo uploaded by mashnet on Flickr

One last thing, Bruce Springsteen said in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards for best song that Rourke called asking if he might do the song for the film. Rourke briefly described the character to Springsteen. Springsteen said, "I know guys like that."

I have always loved Bruce Springsteen. And love him even more for doing the song for this film. Bet he did it for peanuts too. Guess Springsteen also believes everybody deserves a second chance.
Bruce Springsteen, photo uploaded on Flickr by nachocorreanet


Robert Campbell said...

Good job! I haven't seen those photos yet and I'm something of an expert... I made The Wrestler Squidoo Lens and linked it to the Canadian Wrestler movie trailer.

Mary Cuevas said...

thanks robert,
i loved the film. the story is moving to say the least and mickey rocked. i hope whatever got him ostracized from hollywood is long gone and we see more of this artist.