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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Movie Watch: The Wrestler

Honestly, about the only nice thing I can say about this movie is that Marisa Tomei is a very attractive fortysomething.

This is now the second Aronofsky film I didn't finish. First was Requiem For A Dream which I found so profoundly depressing that I could feel enjoyment sucked out of the room. Jennifer Connelly became wildly unattractive to me during the movie - a clear crime against nature. While The Wrestler doesn't share quite the same level of surrealistic masochism as Requiem, there's certainly enough pain and loathing to go around.

I can't find anything particularly interesting about the singular focus on a man's tragedy which is just so droning and unrelenting. Rourke does an amazing job (hey, two nice things), for sure, but there isn't a scene with any respite for the character. Even when he plays Nintendo with a fellow trailer park kid - the kid has to rub it into his face that Call of Duty 4 is out and he's stuck with an NES.

In summary: His day job sucks, his night job is killing him, the closest thing he has to a girlfriend is a stripper, his daughter hates him for being a dick, he abuses drugs, and the people who adore him either want to staple gun his face for amusement or have no idea who he really is as a person.

What's awful about The Wrestler is that it isn't even terribly unique. We've seen this kind of character before - but without the snuff film edge to it.

Obviously not recommended.


sterno said...

In Requiem, the movie is all a big downward slope and given that it's all about drug addiction, that makes sense. I watched the whole thing in spite of sitting in a theater questioning the wisdom of doing so repeatedly for the final 30 minutes.

I'm curious as to when you gave up on The Wrestler. I thought it was a really good movie though I won't argue with your general sense that the guy has a pretty shitty life. But at the end there is some definite redemption and glory though it's not 100% clear if it's his last hurah or not.

Aranofsky is incredibly good at making the darker parts of reality viscerally real through the screen. Requiem is so hard to watch because it is that well done. I've seen movies that deal with drug addiction before, but this movie just keeps hitting you in the stomach repeatedly as you scream, "nooooo not Jennifer!"

The Wrestler still has that visceral quality but the arc of the story is very different from Requiem. Requiem is about the downward spiral. If you stopped 30 minutes from the end, unable to take any more punishment, then you didn't miss anything. It just got worse. For the Wrestler, the theme is more complex and while there's a lot to find depressing in his existence, it's not a life entirely without hope.

Josh said...

Where his kid walks away from him, so post heart attack, but before the deli stuff.

The kid was the last straw for me. It was just so predictable. I mean - of course he has a daughter to hates him. At this point it seemed like wading through all of his misery just for the relatively obvious setup didn't seem worth it.

I didn't find it as revulsive as Requiem, true. Agreed, it's not the same structure, or setup. Although the fight before the heart attack was starting to kill it for me. Even his glory seems pretty pathetic.

Charlotte said...

I somehow did make it through the movie,although barely - it was darn depressing. However, I do think Mickey O'Rourke gave a great performance.