Sunday, January 18, 2009

Film Review - The Wrestler

I've seen a lot of films since Christmas (it's 18 Jan 09 now), a lot of them were very good and are getting a lot of coverage. For example The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire. Anyway, I might review them later.
But for now, I want to dwell on The Wrestler, which I saw a few days ago. My expectations were so-so, indeed I only went to it as Slumdog Millionaire was sold out, and given a choice between The Wrestler and Bride Wars, well you work it out..
But, it seems all the good notices for Mickey Rourke were valid. If anything, they've understated how bloody good he is. He is so believable, and the whole film is very believable.
It's also extremely visceral, partly due to the hand held camera style but also due to the extremity of the wrestling scenes. I dislike wrestling even more than I dislike boxing, but you have to respect the commitment of these guys (I suspect the other wrestlers were real, and not actors) and how much they put their bodies on the line. Actually, that's one of the themes of the film really, how everything Rourke does in his life is either damaging his body or his psyche, and all his attemtps at doing the right thing (be it trying to reunite with his daughter or retire from wrestling) seem doomed to failure. And of course, as we know, it's all paralleled neatly with the actor's own life.
So, be warned, this is no feel good movie, it's actually very sad and depressing. The only cheerful things, are the few flashes of humour and the glorious if somewhat cheesy 80s hard rock soundtrack. Plus that great new Springsteen song.
Only for very occasionally veering towards some of the cliches of this genre, I would have given it 9/10, so I'll give it an 8.

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