There aren’t a lot of directors out there that take a literal risk every time they are making a film. These auteurs create only what they deem worthy of their time and of their audiences’ time. This is why Darren Aronofsky is such a beloved director, the man was born with the gift of filmmaking prowess that is exceptional, and he uses it to take you through some of the most brutal journeys possible. The Wrestler is one of his few films that hit closest to home, with a story that is emotionally draining and heartbreaking to watch.
How to Download The Wrestler
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. Check out also other films by Darren Aronofsky, such as Requiem for a Dream (2000), Noah (2014), or The Whale (2022).
The Movie Review
The film tells the story of a man named Randy. You see, Randy “The Ram” Robinson was formerly a professional wrestler and lived a glorious life of an athlete. Unfortunately, athletics wasn’t kind to him, and neither is retirement. Randy now struggles to make ends meet in his post-wrestling life, he’s a loner and has a rocky relationship with his daughter, along with an unfulfilling job at a supermarket. He lives his life longing for a chance to be back in the ring and recapture the glory days of his wrestling career.
Eventually, the allure becomes too strong, and he dives back in for a resurgence.
The film throws you into the mindset of its protagonist, Randy the Ram is suffering from a severe loss of purpose in the latter half of his life, and it is evident that he needs something to grab onto now. He can’t rely on his relationship with his daughter, because he messed it up by not being there enough. Aronofsky captures this with an almost documentarian outlook, focusing on the struggles of this man in a light we haven’t seen before.
Aronofsky develops a character who is so far past his learning age in life, that he might never develop mentally in any way.
The film never loses its momentum, it’s a slow yet engaging ride from the start till the credits roll. Aronofsky brings sheer realism to this tale, by showing Randy at his worst without pulling any punches, which makes the film feel almost emotionally tormenting to watch. You won’t see a film with human reactions as strategically used as you will here, thanks in part to the brilliant writing, making the dialogue feel authentic to the characters.
Then you have the performances, and Aronofsky leans heavily on his actors. Mickey Rourke as Randy is simply phenomenal, the man transformed himself into the character and simply did not shy away from giving one of the most immersive acting performances ever. He was accompanied by actors such as Marissa Tomei and Evan Rachel Woods, who follow his energy and bring an unflinching authenticity and realness to their roles.
The film has a particular design to its cinematography, mainly with the use of natural lighting from street lamps, bulbs, and whatnot, along with the use of handheld cameras. This makes the film somewhat nauseating for viewers, but it’s also what gives it a sense of realism and documentarian feel you normally wouldn’t find anywhere. There isn’t a lot of CGI, but it is used in the fight sequences to enhance the brutality, which is so well done that it’s impossible to notice.
Clint Mansell’s soundtrack is also a work of art here, it’s got an almost haunting tone to it. The soundtrack provides The Wrestler with a melancholic feel that you wouldn’t be able to sense without this music. Aronofsky uses the soundtrack successfully in spots where it would hit the hardest, and then the film turns it into its own from there on.
The Wrestler is a story that is not too hard to relate to, you will find yourself constantly empathizing with Randy, especially if you’re someone whose career means a lot to them. At some point in our life, we all must leave our work behind, work where we were influential, or something that we were good at. We must all fall into the normality of life at some point, and that’s what The Wrestler showcases better than anything else.
This is Aronofsky at his finest, and the film is a literal masterpiece.
- The story is brutal and gut-wrenching, with a hard-pressed approach to realism
- The performances by Micky Rourke, Marissa Tomei and Evan Rachel Woods are phenomenal.
- Aronofsky maintains the pacing well, with a direction that is full of details and peculiarities
- The writing is top notch, with memorable lines and heartbreaking dialogue
- The cinematography adds to the immersion of the experience
- The music is well composed, with some incredibly haunting melodies
- The handheld camera aesthetic might feel a bit nauseating for some viewers
- And the same goes for the film’s subject matter might