I found it really hard to wrestle with my emotions while watching Mickey Rourke take a beating (both literally and figuratively) in what I consider to be a great Oscar indiscretion last year. If ever there was anyone who truly deserved a statuette for all the pain and suffering he took, it is Rourke. ‘The Wrestler‘ hurt, touched and if ever there were goosebump moments in a film this would rate tops.
From my first introduction to pro-wrestling in 1991 (thanks to a handheld ‘Royal Rumble’ WWF/E game gifted by an aunt) I have been a passive follower of the sport. I am no fanatic like some whom I know, but the drama and the macho moments ensure that dull moments are rare in the ring. What Darren Aronofsky has done with ‘The Wrestler’ is bring in respect of not only the ringmasters but also the fans who are willing to sacrifice that weekly cheque to have a look at their favourite men in tights. Mickey Rourke as the washed up wrestler who aims to get in another fight despite his heart condition, is the wrestler who painfully goes about his life trying to fit back into his family and society with hardly any success. As he tries healing old wounds with his daughter and nearly succeeds you just feel for the guy. He screwed up, took a beating and with no one out there to look for him but his fans, he tries to get back in the ring after a heart attack.
This movie deserved to be nominated at every level. Hell, you got to create a stunt coordinator nomination at the academy cause Rourke really seemed to have learnt the right moves. The beatiful Marisa Tomei as the love interest who nearly was and Evan Rachel Wood (I would rate her #1 on the next gen beautiful actress lists) are perfect foils for Mickey Rourke’s down and out wrestler. This movie is about acceptance, one of the most basic courtesies that one human could offer another but which we rearely find around us. And if ever there was an ode to fans of the ring this is it.
Take a bow ‘Ram’ (that’s Rourke’s character for you), Take a bow.