Actor, producer, and Dot Net reader Jagger Kaye reviews "The Wrestler"

Posted in: More Reviews
By By Jagger Kaye
Dec 29, 2008 - 12:07 PM

Aronofsky and Rourke tag for a compelling look at the gritty reality of the life of a pro wrestler.

"The world don’t give a shit about me"- Randy "The Ram" Robinson

Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler has received Oscar worthy buzz for the director as well as the film and the actors Micky Rourke (lead) and Marisa Tomei (supporting). As someone who was initially drawn to the genre of pro wrestling by the storylines and character development, I found himself fascinated by the inner workings and carny-esque lifestyle these performers lead. I was very excited to sit and watch this much buzzed about film and give it a short review from an actor/director/teacher/fan perspective exclusively for and a good friend Jason Powell’s wrestling news site

This Fox Searchlight Pictures release begins with the intro to Quiet Riot’s "Metal Health" while you see a pan of Randy "The Ram" Robinson's old, worn and discolored press clippings from his glory years of wrestling (1980’s). The song fades as we see "The Ram" all alone in a Kindergarten class that was used as a make shift dressing room after he wrestled in the school’s gym. Without seeing his face, Rourke uses his body language to show defeat, not in a win/lose a match scenario, but as someone seemingly defeated by the reality that he is no longer what he once was and that is a pro wrestler’s greatest opponent and the main event feud of this film.

In pro wrestling the person responsible for the pairing of wrestlers and the storyline matches is called "The Booker" and Aronofsky books "The Ram" character immediately as a has-been underdog. We see that Ram is padlocked out of his mobile home, walking in pain to the rental managers door looking for help, a short respite or what they call in wrestling "a tag." only to find he is left to fight his greatest and most feared opponent (reality) by himself.

The story follows Ram as he works his day job in a local supermarket, wrestling in schools and small auditoriums, signing autographs in empty VFW halls and going to blow off steam in strip clubs.

Ram has one last hope at reclaiming fame and redemption and that is a twentieth anniversary rematch of his most famous confrontation with The Ayatollah (played by Ernest Miller). On the road to that event, we witness the wrestling rituals of an abundance of steroids and pain killers. We get drawn into hardcore wrestling matches where he is slammed through glass, stapled by a staple gun, thrown against barbwire and a near fatal heart attack caused by most of the above that forces him to seriously think of retiring from the only life he has ever known.

Wrestling fans will get a kick out of seeing the Indy promotions Ring Of Honor, CZW and others included, but any fan of film and real life drama will be captivated by the main event performances of Rourke, Tomei (the aging stripper and object of desire) and Evan Rachel Wood (his estranged daughter). But wrestling fan or not, this is a must see film with brilliant direction by Aronofsky, gritty dialogue by Robert D. Siegel, and a Travolta/Pulp Fiction type comeback by Rourke.

"There is no more fixing this, it’s broke, I never want to see you again" – Stephanie Robinson (to her Dad)

THE WRESTLER - Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use.

Jagger Kaye owns/operates - The NYC Area’s Home For FREE Castings and AFFORDABLE Acting Classes. Jagger is also an actor (TV – Ed, Knights Of Prosperity) who stars in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial for Alka Seltzer.

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