Darren Aranofsky, Scott Franklin, Vincent Maraval (executive), Agnès Mentre (executive), Jennifer Roth (executive) for Protozoa Pictures, Saturn Films
directed by Darren Aronofsky
starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens, Judah Friedlander, Ernest Miller, Dylan Keith Summers, Tommy Farra, Mike Miller, Marcia Jean Kurtz, John D'Leo, Ajay Naidu, Gregg Bello, Scott Siegel, Maurizio Ferrigno, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Andrea Langi, Armin Amiri, Vale Anoai, Ryan Lynn, Michael Drayer, Alyssa Bresnahan, Jeff Chena, Vernon Campbell, Felice Choi, Bernadette Penotti, Johnny Valiant, Ron Killings, Giovanni Roselli, Robert Siegel, Scott Franklin, Sylvia Kauders, Alissa Reisler, Willy Rosler, Rebecca Darke, E.J.Carroll, Abraham Aronofsky, Charlotte Aronofsky, TJ Kedzieerski, Jen Cohn, Henry Kwan, Maven Bentley, Douglas Crosby, Larry Legend, Nick Papagerio, Kevin Foote, Jon Trosky, Andy Anderson, Austin Aries, Blue Meanie (= Brian Heffron), Nicky Benz, Brolly, Lamar Braxton Porter, Claudio Castagnoli, Cobian, Doc Daniels, Bobby Dempsey, Billy Dream, Whacks, Rob Eckos, Nate Hatred, Havoc (= Kit Cope), DJ Hyde, Inferno (= Jeff Joslin), Joker (= Kai Nuuhiwa), Judas, Kid USA, LA Smooth, Toa Mairie, Kevin Matthews, Devon Moore, Pete Nixon, Paul E.Normous, Papadon, Sabian, Jay Santana, Sugga, Larry Sweeney, Elizabeth Wood
written by Robert D.Siegel, music by Clint Mansell, stunt coordinator: Douglas Crosby
Randy 'the Ram' Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was a big wrestler once - but that was back in
the 1980's. Now he tries to make a few bucks off his former fame wrestling
with a small-fry promotion (but at least he's that promotion's star),
putting more of an effort into it than it's actually worth, while still
having to work part time in a supermarket storeroom to make ends meet.
Then, after a hardcore match, Randy has a heart attack, and when he comes
to, his doctor tells him he will never be able to wrestle again - while
his big comeback match against the Ayatollah (Ernest Miller), a reprise of
a legendary fight they fought 20 years ago, is just weeks away.
Randy, realizing he's no longer as young and healthy a man as he used to
be, quits the wrestling circuit, gets a job at the deli counter of the
supermarket he has been working at, tries to make up with his estranged
daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), and tries to take his relationship
to stripper Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) to the next level. However, Randy's
life outside of the ring goes horribly wrong, the deli job totally freaks
him out, he fucks up with his daughter - again -, and Cassidy, though she
really cares for him, can't get too involved with him since she still sees
him as her customer. So ultimately, Randy decides to return to the ring
again despite everything, and take on the Ayatollah (who has since found
success as a used car salesman).
Much too late does Cassidy realize
that she does indeed fell more for Randy than she dared to admit even to
herself, but when she finally catches up with him to tell him, he's just
about to enter teh ring to beat the crap out of the Ayatollah, and he
won't turn back now.
In the match itself, Randy's failing health begins
to show more and more, so much so that the Ayatollah asks him to finish
him off quickly, but still Randy is determined to win this bout in style,
and for his killer move, he takes to the top rope, jumps and ... and this
is where the film ends.
A compelling drama and an interesting
insight into the world of (small-fry league) professional wrestling, The
Wrestler is quite an ok movie, but it's far from perfect. Especially
the finale, in which Randy gives a passionate speech before probably
killing himself in the ring is extremely cheesy and destroys much of the
authencity the movie has accomplished earlier on, plus the ambivalent
ending (we see Randy jump and suspect he won't survive, but do we know?)
seems to be taking the easy way out rather than tieing up all the
The main capital of the film though is Mickey
Rourke, who effortlessly carries the film even through its more boring
spots, and who seems to bring a certain authencity to his role, as he,
just like Randy, is a washed-up star from the 1980's - but while Randy
might have died in the ring at the end, for Rourke it is an impressive
comeback to former glory and quite possibly his best performance ever.
for Rourke alone, this film is an almost must-see.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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