The Wrestler
Director: Darren Aronofsky

Mickey Rourke’s the Dickensian focus of Darren Aronofsky’s humane, soulful and occasionally humorous portrait of life on the way down from the top.

Rourke’s Randy (The Ram) Robinson once enjoyed top-bill success and income, but now he plays for chump change on the nostalgia circuit.

Randy’s brutal passion has cost him his marriage, estranged him from his daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) and taken a toll on his health. He still pumps his body full of steroids, but now he’s also addicted to painkillers for a chronic back problem. His heart tells him that he’s living on borrowed time.

His only comfort is a nightclub stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) whose interest in Randy may be purely professional.

The film is a triumph on many levels, not least of which is Rourke’s return as an actor of reckoning. He should have won this year’s Best Actor Oscar. Also worthy of applause is Aronofsky’s return, after the indecipherable astral indulgence that was The Fountain, to the well-deep drama that Requiem for a Dream proved him capable of nearly a decade ago.

Pity the extras are so lightweight. My review copy has just the Springsteen video of the title song. Are they saving a Rourke commentary for a deluxe edition?

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