Monday, March 02, 2009

The Wrestler is a haunting film

I'm not a fan of professional wrestling, and other than a brief period in the early '80s, never was, but the movie "The Wrestler" blew my mind. A week after seeing it, the stark realism of this film, most notably in its highly relatable and sympathetic main character Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, still haunts me. Wrestling is the backdrop, but the movie is really about being lost as a person, clinging to the familiar, simple survival in a rapidly changing world and searching for human connections.

Randy pursues a stripper nearing the end of her run named Cassidy, played brilliantly by Marisa Tomei. Her embrace of change stands in contrast to Randy's more innocent and naive approach to life. Both use their bodies to make a living, and time is the enemy of both, but the difference is Randy genuinely loves what he does and can't think of what else to do. Cassidy doesn't like what she does, but can't think of what else to do, either.

The fact that the movie is set in New Jersey, and filmed in a particularly grim winter with a typically plain yet powerful Springsteen tune as its theme song, adds even more -- at least for me personally.

The film displays much insight into what the real world of professional wrestling is like -- especially on the "has been" circuit in local school gymnasiums, as well as the physical toll the sport takes on a body. Wrestlers often find an early grave, which is documented here. I remember attending a few of these bouts at my local high school when I was a kid. I recently watched the extensive Charlie Rose interview with Mickey Rourke and the actor really does come off as similarly chastened and longing to "get back" as the character he plays. This was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.


The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Who knew there were so many professional wrestlers. I remember there being a WWF cartoon on Saturday mornings once upon a time.

Anonymous said...

So, have you given up on the whole Roberta thing?

Jeff said...

What else is there to say?

I'm bored by it at this point. That's for sure.

bigsoxfan said...

I shook the hand of a wrestler who had been hit in the head by a chair swung by George "the animal" Steele. That is all I know about that.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Like I said, it's like the Truman Show. Everyone has simply changed the channel.