Movie Details: View Here
Evan Rachel Wood
Within the Ring - A No-Holds-Barred One-on-One with Wrestlers and Filmmakers
"The Wrestler" Music Video - Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 Color
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Run Time: 109 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as pro wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a former superstar now paying the price for twenty years of grueling punishment in and out of the ring. But he's about to risk everything to prove he has one more match left in him: a re-staging of his famous Madison Square Garden bout against "The Ayatollah." Darren Aronofsky directs a powerful cast in this action-packed saga of guts, glory and gritty determination that is "as irresistible as a headlock" (New York Post).
Mickey Rourke's hair is amazing, a shocking yellow mane that, when he's getting ready to enter the ring as pro wrestler Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, is almost as spectacular as the matches he used to headline back in the Eighties. Randy's been through a lot since then-as has Rourke-and Darren Aronofsky's latest is, even with a great supporting cast, essentially a one-man show.
Randy "The Ram" Robinson was the big thing back in the 80s - think Hulk Hogan or "Rowdy" Roddy Piper back when MTV and Cyndi Lauper were involved. These days, Randy's living a much different life, still wrestling in small venues, but mainly working part-time at a grocery store, hanging out in his trailer playing Nintendo, and trying to woo a slightly over-the-hill stripper (Marisa Tomei) with whom he feels an outsider's kinship. But when the strain of the life of a wrestler finally begins to catch up to Randy, he begins to face his own mortality - until a once in a lifetime chance to get back into the spotlight he loves may cause him to lose everything he has.
Now, everybody liked to write and talk and blog about how Rourke and Robinson were each other's cinematic doppelganger, but really, that's all surface stuff. This film marked the beginning of Rourke's career resurgence, whereas, with Randy, it's pretty obvious it's all downhill. The true artistry of this movie is in Rourke's total immersion into his character - when he staples his skin back together, we feel the metal. Tomei is great, too, paralleling Randy's realizations of his age with her own. "The Wrestler" is sort of a strange duck of a movie, though - the performances are outstanding, Aronofsky directs the snot out of it (touches such as how the camera literally follows directly behind Randy's head make us audience folks feel like we see the world through his eyes), but the movie itself is really just GOOD, not GREAT. It's like a tiny snippet out of the life of one guy - this is an actor's movie, and even though we're totally involved, afterwards, thinking back, it's clear the story itself is really less plot, more character.
The Special Features on the DVD release are actually a perfect complement to the film. There's a music video for Bruce Springsteen's robbed-of-an-Oscar-nomination title song, and a 43-minute Making Of behind the scenes documentary entitled "Within the Ring" that offers cast interviews, shooting footage, and a bunch of other stuff that's actually very interesting and way better than the usual Extras fare. Yeah, it's only two featurettes, but for such a stark yet heartfelt film, they're exactly what's needed.
I started missing Mickey Rourke after seeing "Sin City," so when he made his comeback, I was thrilled. Doing it in such a resounding way, though, was an added bonus, and though the story is somewhat compact, the performances of Rourke and Tomei make it all worth watching.