Director Darren Aronofsky became known to the general public in 2010 when he filmed the mysterious drama Black Swan that earned him an Oscar nomination. His projects are specific in that they have a small budget, but with their quality they break the box office. However, even he did not expect so much success of this sports drama, which he shot mostly using a hand-held camera, with a small team of actors and a modest budget.
The main character is Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler, who was at the peak of his fame in the eighties, when video games were made based on him, T-shirts with his face were printed and when he had a large number of fans. Twenty years later, he barely survives, fighting for miserable sums in local battles. Aware of the fact that he can’t fight forever because his health condition doesn’t allow it, he tries to find another job, makes a connection with a local stripper and tries to get in touch with his daughter Stefani, whom he left. In addition to his enviable physical build, which he maintains with steroids, his health condition is deteriorating more and more, but he still decides to fight another fight, not so much because of money, but because of the desire to hear the support of the audience once again.
This is a great sports drama about a man who gave everything to the sport he plays, and in return received almost nothing. Although he maintains connections with people from that branch, children see him as a hero and attract attention with his charisma, he leads the battle to survive, descending to a level that was previously unimaginable to him. There is no pathos here, but everything is shown quite realistically and convincingly, and this is supported by a hand-held camera with a handshake that creates the feeling of watching a documentary about one such man, and not a feature film.
An athlete’s career is closely related to making a large number of people happy. Over time, he gets used to the support and support from them, but he is confused when there is no such support in his private life. That is exactly why our hero returns to the ring, because loud cheering gives him moral satisfaction. In addition, he is fighting an emotional battle to get his daughter back, and along with his story, the life drama of the stripper Cassidy takes place, which is also nearing the end of his career, but he is in a much better financial situation than Randy.
As expected, the film is quite raw, stripped, unpainted and depressed. It is simply impossible not to feel a dose of pity for the main character. However, the point is that his life story can refer to a man of any other profession. The script is great, while the direction is combined with a handheld and static camera for every compliment. There are no special effects and spectacular scenes done on the computer, but it is technically modest, which I consider a big plus.
Mickey Rourke provided the performance of a lifetime. His comeback after ten years is really effective, and I think he was robbed at the Oscars, when the award for best actor went to Sean Shan. His charisma is contagious and transmits it to his character, while the emotional scenes and fight scenes in which he participates represent the very highlight of the film. She has solid support in Oscar-winning Marisa Tomei, in the role of a stripper who has a specific relationship with Randy, and Evan Rachel Wood in the role of Randy’s daughter.
The “wrestler” must be looked at. An effective dose of persuasiveness, great acting by Mickey Rourke, a lot of emotions and an honest presentation of the sad life situation of the former star will definitely not leave you indifferent.