The Wrestler


Mmm. Sassy bob Mr Rourke

Nearly a year ago, I reviewed Aronofsky’s film Pi in the form of a poem. I still haven’t seen it, you will be relieved to hear. Nor have I seen his more recent film, The Wrestler, which I review here:

In this film, Mickey Rourke is an old porcine ex-wrestler with insane biceps and a slimy snout, who has failed to reassimilate to ordinary life. After considering a career as a low-rent gigolo, he decides to try his hand at grapplin’ and a-gruntin’ in the amphitheatres of the WWF. Herein lies the premise of ‘The Wrestler’.

In his first comeback bout, Mickey Rourke must do battle with ‘The Ladybird’. ‘Hey you, little Aphids’, The Ladybird shouts, more like a terrifying pig than a flying insect, ‘youse better get off m’stalk before I interfere with ya’. His signature move is the ‘Crazy Gringo’. Many brave men have been bested by the Crazy Gringo, but not Rourke. He triumphs, and The Ladybird shuffles off, red-faced.

Equally wrestley is Rourke’s next opponent, B.B. Jefferson Humongous, whose theme is difficult to work out. But you’d better not tell him that (his promotional material instructs us). The last wrestling fan who pointed out the incoherence of B.B.’s persona ended up Jimmy-licked in a wrecking parlour, and you know he never got it straight again. B.B.’s signature move is the ‘Big Biff’. He does it right in Rourke’s face, but Rourke comes back at him like a malfunctioning latrine. Good night B.B. Jefferson Humongous.

You would struggle to find a more accomplished wrestling technician than ‘Willy the Meff’. Willy whoops the crowd up then turns a tiger loose on them. He crushes his opponents into little flies then feeds them to his wife. He can come at you like a bear, a pudding, a mango, a dead crab, a punishing vicar, a dark wizard, a grouse or a slobbering ratbag. The result is always the same: total, massive death (not literally). His signature move is ‘The Full Grope’.

In ‘Willy the Meff’ Rourke meets his match. And though it is sad that Rourke gets pummelled in savagely, there is a sparse balletic beauty in Aronofsky’s cinematography. Rourke spins off the ropes and buries his face in the ring, falling from the heavens as if he were the minced-up carcass of a rebel archangel whom God had ripped into pieces during one of his bezerker rages and then drop-kicked out of heaven. Rourke’s family and his best gal witness the gigantic failure that Rourke has now come to represent, and leave the auditorium in shame. Rourke is now a pariah, and must shave his head and live on the outskirts of town, salvaging old plastic bags from the dumping ground and selling them for pennies. He is no longer a wrestler. He is an untouchable.

In conclusion, this film is better than all of those silly maths films that Aronofsky was always peddling, like some kind of blow-hard Open University lecturer. I give it a reasonable integer out of a slightly higher integer.


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4 Responses to “The Wrestler”

  1. Banjo Fett Says:

    No mention of the over-the-shoulder piggy-cam technique employed in the shooting of this wrasslin’ masterpiece?! SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    I know. I meant to touch on it when I described the wrasslin’ montage featuring Piggy ‘Deliverance’ Corndog, wherein he wrassles frightened yuppies to the forest floor and traumatises them, but it brought back too many bad memories.

  3. dangerous meredith Says:

    I haven’t seen this film either, mainly because I strongly suspect that, unfortunately, it is nothing like your review.

  4. Banjo Fett Says:

    Man I loves wrasslin’. My favourite move is probably the Greasy Ferret Pinch. Then again I like the Flying Homburg.

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