Impressed by Mickey Rourke's Golden Globe winning speech, I decided to go see this movie.
Randy 'The Ram' Robinson fought the Ayatollah in Madison Square Garden back in the 80s, and still battles today. Ill met by fate, bruised and battered, his sinewy muscles scarred, his bones creaking in protest he still has the fight, and like a One Trick Pony he sticks to what he knows. It's a desperate life.
As you may recall in Raging Bull, Robert De Niro put on about 40 pounds to play fighter Jake La Motta as he got older, and he won an Oscar for his dedication to the role.
Mickey Rourke does something no less astounding here, putting on huge bulk to assume the persona and convincing physique of a professional wrestler. It's the most amazing acting performance of the year. The lines between actor and character blur and disappear. The kind of pain you see on Randy's face cannot be pretended. It can only be relived from the actor's parallel experience, which is what makes Rourke's performance so compelling.
For female companionship, he goes to a local bar, where a fetching stripper played by Marisa Tomei, Academy Award winner for My Cousin Vinny, gives him a lap dance for a fee. He can barely make rent, yet he has priorities.
Marisa gives an incredibly authentic performance, and it's a welcome surprise see her take it off in the name of art. I applaud her courage in doing so. Her physique is simply amazing, and her body art is very intriguing.
Evan Rachel Wood plays his estranged daughter. Previously, she played the female lead part in Across The Universe, and already has a quite impressive filmography under her belt. Here she sports a different look, and gives a perfect performance.
Some of the wrestling sequences are truly outrageous, and not a little disturbing. Having cut my finger on a ham slicer early in life, seeing people operating ham slicers gives me the heebie jeebies. If you have a problem with the sight of blood, I caution you that there are some disturbing sequences in the movie.
The Academy's actor awards tend to go to actors in two types of role:
1.Psychopath- No Country for Old Men, The Usual Suspects, There Will Be Blood, Training Day, Silence of the Lambs.
2.Mentally Disabled, Social or Physical Handicap, overcomes great adversity or discrimination- Shine, As Good as It Gets, A Beautiful Mind, Ray, Scent of a Woman, Capote, Philadelphia, The Pianist, A Beautiful Life.
Randy definitely has a handicap, and last year was the year of the psychopath, with both Daniel Day Lewis, and Javier Bardem winning Oscar.
I hope you find this review helpful.