Directed by Darren Aronofsky (‘Pi’ and ‘Requiem For A Dream’) a film about wrestling, but as with all the best sports films it’s not about the sport as much as it is about the people involved. In this case Mickey Rourke plays Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, a WWF-style wrestler who peaked around 20 years ago (in the 80’s). The Ram is still wrestling at the weekends to a devout (but small) crowd of devoted fans, but has to work in the local Supermarket during the week to make ends meet.
Darren Aronofsky has manged to make a film that feels completely like an 80’s film, not just because of the rock soundtrack or the subject matter or Mickey Rourke’s 80’s long hair, but overall the look and feel of the film is spot on.
Mickey Rourke gives a great and empathetic performance as the aging sportsman still grinding away and early on in the film suffers a health scare that throws his future in the ring into turmoil and makes him step back and re-examine his life. That life also contains Cassidy, an aging stripper in obviously similar circumstances and his daughter Stephanie. One scene sees The Ram psyching himself up for the deli counter at the supermarket and the walk out there draws obvious parallels with him emerging from backstage at a fight – it’s a great scene.
Midway through the film I feared it was just turning into a formulaic remake of Rocky or something like that, but I am happy to report that it didn’t at all. The plot is an interesting one and is given a proper ending, but one that leaves it just open enough for a bit of self-interpretation. A very good film.
4 on 5
Director: Daren Aronofsky
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Rachel Evan Wood
UK Release: 16 January 2009