Thursday, 30 June 2011

Director Of The Month Film Review: Darren Aronofsky - The Wrestler

Rating: 7.2/10 - Very Good

Welcome to our second to last review in our series on Darren Aronofsky. Is it as good as his previous effort, The Fountain? See the full review after the jump.

Director: Darren Aronofsky. Screenplay: Robert Siegel. Producers: Darren Aronofsky and Scott Franklin. Executive Producers: Vincent Maraval, Agnes Mentre and Jennifer Roth. Cinematographer: Maryse Alberti. Editor: Andrew Weisblum. Music: Clint Mansell. Production Designer: Tim Grimes. Costume Designer: Amy Westcott. Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures. Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and Ernest Miller. Running Time: 109 Minutes.

Mickey Rourke plays Robin Ramzinski, stage name Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a down on his luck former pro wrestler who now ekes out a living as a lowly paid semi-pro wrestler for a small-time wrestling company. While he does his wrestling on weekends, he also has a weekday job at a grocery store which also doesn't pay much and as a result he ends up being evicted from his trailer park home and is forced to sleep in his pick-up truck. Luckily for him and opportunity at redemption and making a bit of money in the form of a 20th anniversary rematch of his most famous victory is presented to him and he reluctantly agrees. His reluctance stems from the fact that besides his financial troubles, his health is steadily deteriorating and physically, he is just not as fit as he used to be. Nonetheless he soldiers on in a race against time to be fit in time for the match.

It is during this period that you discover the gruelling nature of wrestling and the amount of physical punishment that wrestlers put their bodies through in order to deliver the spectacle that millions watch religiously on TV. Mickey Rourke is without a doubt the perfect choice for this role because in him you can see the look of a man who has been through a lot in his life and that's evident in his performance. His gentle, caring demeanour towards his estranged daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) and his stripper love interest Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) stands in stark contrast to the violent brutality he displays on the ring against his opponents. Rourke manages to balance both sides of his character really and after watching his performance it's no great surprise that he was nominated for an Oscar for his role.

Praise must also go to Darren Aronofsky who, besides directing another outstanding film, has also proven himself to be a top class actor's director like Paul Thomas Anderson. He is truly one of the best young directors working in Hollywood today.

Verdict: Very good drama with superb acting performances.

The Wrestler is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

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