The Wrestler

So I went and saw The Wrestler last weekend, and thought it was great.  Nobody needs to read anymore about Mickey Rourke’s performance, or the script, or Marissa Tomei; but I would like to highlight a few things that I liked and I haven’t heard as much talking about.

I was very impressed with the visuals of the movie.  Aronofsky has a great sense of the way his characters inhabit their spaces.  Whether closed in behind the deli counter, sitting at a table in the near-empty signing in the VFW, Randy’s relationship to his environment defines nearly every scene in which he appears.  Perhaps the best example of this is the scene in which Randy and his daughter, Stephanie, walk under the pier and into some sort of abandoned hall.  I’ve seen a few people complain that the scenes between Randy and Stephanie were trite or poorly written; this may or may not be true, but it doesn’t really matter–the way their bodies are framed by the huge, empty space around them is more important and more memorable than any of the dialogue.

The only space in which Randy can really thrive is the ring which is simultaneously enclosed by the ropes and open to the entire stadium.  It is both intimate–with space for only Randy, his opponent, and the referee–and public.  The ring, then, is a strange space, and Aronofsky puts it to good use in the fight scenes, which are excellent.  The way the ring operates emphasizes the double nature of the fights.  Everybody knows that the fights are a performance, even the people in the stands, who are their to see a show.  But when the movie closes in on the fighters, it’s a little more ambiguous.  It’s hard to tell just exactly what is fake when you watch Randy getting shot with a staple gun.  The wrestling matches are not a part of the real world but for Randy they’re even more real.  I want to say too much but this has a lot to do with the ending, which is great, and I’d rather not spoil it.

At any rate, believe the hype, it’s the best movie I’ve seen all year.

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One Response to “The Wrestler”

  1. Weekly Top 5, Feb. 6-13 « Kickin’ the Fly Cliches Says:

    […] the Fly Cliches Just another WordPress.com weblog « The Wrestler Welcome Back […]

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