The Wrestler

The Wrestler

The Wrestler

directed by Darren Aronofsky

starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood

Fox Searchlight

Everybody complains about wrestling being fake, but no one grouses when Hamlet gets up for a bow at the end of his little play. While the winner and loser may be predetermined in any given wrestling bout, it’s still a form of theater and it sells more tickets than Shakespeare. Wrestling offers clearly defined good and evil, lots of chair-over-head action, and at the end, catharsis. What more could you want?

Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke) worked the squared circle for his whole life, but his rock star lifestyle is catching up with him. His bones hurt, his daughter Stephanie (Wood) hates him, and the steroids are about to knock out the old ticker. A broken glass and staple gun match with the Neckro Butcher (Dylan Keith Summers) pushes his heart over the edge, leaving him with a bypass and no future prospects other than work at the deli counter. The deli resides in a particularly depressing fortress of a grocery store, and things have gotten so bad, even his stripper girlfriend Cassidy (Tomei) won’t put out for him. When he needs her most, she falls back on some sort of stripper code of honor like “Never date a customer.”

When you’re not cringing, crying, or laughing, The Wrestler takes you into the very minor leagues of the wrestling world. These hardscrabble enthusiasts perform in civic centers, VFW halls, and even the occasional parking lot. The players all know each other, and without some pre-show choreography, the injuries would be much worse. You really CAN kill someone by jumping off the top rope and putting an elbow in their throat. Rourke captures the bravado and honor in the face of joint dislocation and no medical insurance, and his failed attempt to reconcile with Stephanie drips with irony as they walk the abandoned winter boardwalk of the Jersey shore. Tomei’s stripper finds sympathy as well, she has kids and no husband and her looks are fading and her honor is at stake as well. When she finally comes to see a match, it’s too little too late, and Rourke has no options left but to take one final leap. New Jersey never looked so depressing.

The Wrestler:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives