action DVD and movie reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
action DVD and movie reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
DVD reviews, previews and info - dramas and thrillers
  action movies on DVD
  animation on DVD
  art house and international / foreign language films on DVD
  comedies on DVD
  documentaries on DVD
  dramas on DVD
  children's and family DVDs
  horror and sci-fi on DVD
  suspense on DVD
  television series on DVD
  Blu-ray DVD reviews


The Wrestler - drama DVD / action adventure DVD review
THE WRESTLER Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens
Director: Darren Aronofsky Studio: Fox Searchlight
DVD release: 21 April 2009 Runtime: 111 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (5.1 Dolby Surround - English, Spanish), Subtitles (English, Spanish), Within the Ring, "The Wrestler" music video (Bruce Springsteen)

In 1985, I saw John Stossel on 20/20 expose many of the tricks of wrestling. I'd always been told it was fake, and here was the proof. At the end of the piece, wrestler David Schultz did an open-handed slap to each of Stossel's ears, knocking him to the ground with each slap. It was shocking and a bit sickening. I had never been a fan of wrestling, and this was further proof that it wasn't my cup of tea - I was never one for the roughhousing; I still don't really care for it.

Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler isn't about wrestling so much as it is about a man on the backside of the bell curve of his career. In the '80s, Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was at the top of his game, filling arenas and most likely pulling in some good money. Twenty years have passed since his glory days. He's still wrestling, but he's only able to fill the smaller venues, like VFWs and community centers. He still needs to pump himself full of the performance enhancers to keep his physique at its peak; despite this (or because of it), the years have not been kind to him. He walks like an old man, breathing heavily and slowly ascending the stairs to his shabby trailer. There's no way he can do this for much longer.

Perhaps his only friend in the world (and a paid one at that) is a stripper (stage)named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). They seem to be kindred souls in a way, both performers past their prime and not getting the attention they deserve for the hard work they do. Randy defends Cassidy's honor when some young punks disrespect her. She didn't ask for it, but she's somewhat wooed.

After a match one night, Randy collapses. He awakes in the hospital after having had heart bypass surgery. The doctor tells him that he needs to quit wrestling. This is a rude awakening for Randy. He's alone in the world and lonely. He has a daughter, but they're strangers. Cassidy encourages him to try to open that door.

The Wrestler is a fascinating character study. Randy is at the back door of his wrestling career with few prospects to come after. The kids in the trailer park like him but only politely play his 1989 video game, preferring Call of Duty 4. We see an excellent performance by Mickey Rourke, and we sense that his life parallels The Ram's. Aronofsky's work here is excellent, and it's the kind of film that can be viewed many times (unlike his also-excellent Requiem for a Dream - that's just too hard to watch repeatedly). The Wrestler stuck with me and haunts me still. Perhaps I'm sensing my best years behind me, but it touched me in a deep way. The way I thought wrestling never could.
  buy this DVD now or browse millions of other great products at
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
    action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television    
    browse DVDs alphabetical by title    
    contact | home