DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Mickey Rourke as RANDY “THE RAM” ROBINSON
    Marisa Tomei as CASSIDY
    Evan Rachel Wood as STEPHANIE
    Mark Margolis as LENNY
    Todd Barry as WAYNE
    Wass Stevens as NICK VOLPE

    Rated R
    Studio: Fox Searchlight

    Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

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Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was once one of the best professional wrestlers on the planet. However, with the 80s behind him and his career aspects looking dim, Randy still struggles to make a living. Unfortunately for his health, the only way he knows how to do that is by being in the ring. As he tries to keep his performance up, he faces some serious health issues. With this new challenge, Randy tries to make peace with his daughter and also starts to fall in love with a stripper at a local club.

I’ll get my chauvinism out of the way in the beginning: I have a soft spot for Marisa Tomei, and I’m thrilled to see her disrobing for award films like “The Wrestler” and last year’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.” Call me a pig, but this brightens the film a bit.

Now, on to the more serious aspects to “The Wrestler.” To dote on this film would be overkill, considering how much attention it got when it was in theaters. However, it is worth mentioning what great performances there were in the movie. Mickey Rourke gets a bit of a comeback (although I considered his role of Marv in “Sin City” to be the beginning of this comeback) with the character of Randy. However, he turns out a fine, sensitive, dramatic performance here.

Director Darren Aronofsky is best known for his kinetic and hyper-realistic filmmaking in movies like “?,” “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Fountain.” However, he tones things down considerably for the style and mood of this film. This shows a certain amount of restraint that I didn’t know Aronofsky has.

Finally, “The Wrestler” also gives the viewer a rare glimpse into the world of professional wrestling, especially that which happens outside of the mass market version of the sport. If anyone thinks this is all fake, they’re in for a shock. The storylines and moves may be planned, but there is real pain involved, and Rourke shows that off very well in this film.

As much as I respected this film, “The Wrestler” did seem to be a bit of a grab for Oscar gold during award season. Sure, it’s a fine film. However, it does seem rather predictable if you’ve seen enough of these character drama. (Sure, I might be pointing out the obvious, but I still haven’t forgiven Aronofsky for “The Fountain.”)

There are only two special features included on the single-disc DVD. These include a lengthy behind-the-scenes look at the film called “Within the Ring.” Even if you aren’t a big fan of the movie itself, this 40-minute documentary gives some very nice insights into the filmmaking process and the history of professional wrestling.

The other special feature is the music video for Bruce Springsteen’s award-winning song “The Wrestler.”

Award movie junkies, fans of Mickey Rourke and anyone who wants to see Marisa Tomei’s boobies.

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