Wrestling the Dollhouse (SPOILERS!!!) by Ellen
March 20, 2009, 1:28 am
Filed under: CHAFF

I watched The Wrestler last night in my continuing bid to see the entire resume of Darren Aronofsky on this tour,  I started with Pi in the first week, and although I appreciated its skewed vision of maths and it’s painful depiction of a migraine I thought it was a little bit up its own bottom. 

I much preferred The Fountain, as for all its wonderful flaws it is far less pretentious then his previous effort and one of the most beautiful love stories told in recent times.  I felt like The Wrestler fell somewhere between these two, the whole film was wonderfully casual in its approach, it didn’t need to subject the viewer to emotional manipulation via torture of its main star (Like he did with Ellen Burstyn in Requiem), the camera kind of just sat back and let Rourke exist in this role, showing his strengths and his weaknesses without hammering home any particular message about his personality.

It was subtle and naturalistic, so conclusions were the easier and more honest to come to, sort of like a documentary I guess… it made you believe in this man’s passion for Wrestling, which is a subject I know nothing about but it was an interesting glimpse into this obscure world.  It took skill on the films part to keep you focused on something rather left field for the average audience goer, and it took bravery for Aronofsky to show the more gristly parts of this particular profession (staples gun in a match anyone?)

But he didn’t show these elements for shock value, or to satisfy a morbid curiousity, it was completing a portrait of admiration for someone who put himself through physical and emotional torture for a passion. Also Marisa Tomei was outstanding as the aging stripper, and their wasn’t too much of a push for a convenient romantic relationship between the two of them, more of a mutual understanding of how their bodies were preventing them reaching their dreams (hers was to raise money for a house not to win a stripping comp or anything.)

Although the fact that Randy “The Ram’s” career had taken a nose dive it could have been more heart breaking, Aronofsky chose  to take the focus off that (because it was a given) and instead show how Randy just wanted to wrestle to his fans, no matter how many of them were there…

hmmmm I am rubbish at trying to explain what I think makes a good film to me, but bascially I tend to focus on what the film didn’t but could have easily have done… 

Now onto what didn’t work for me.

There were some elements of hollywood sheen present within it, such as on  the father-daughter relationship which was a little bit cheesy and kind of just shoved in, although Evan “I’m really gorgeous” Rachael Wood has been dissed for her part in it, the fault lies with the under developed and badly written role. She does the best she can with it. The second problem I had was with the ending


I thought it was a little bit too convenient that his heart attack would erupt and kill him at the same time as his final move in his “last match,” I felt like it was at odds with the realism of the rest of the film, and of course he died at the end, the whole set up was not meant to make you think otherwise… that irritated me slightly. I didn’t want him to live, and I didn’t want a happy hollywood ending, but this seemed a little obvious… 

But it is better then a lot of hollywood fare out their currently, and it is commendable that a film which normally would slip under the radar or become a sleeper hit got this level of recognition (and more importantly revenue.) Although Marley and Me is coming out soon and a million people will probably go and see that so….In short it was a intelligent, well made and (in part) depressing film on an unconventional but universal subject, the idea of not giving up on your passions in life…

In another note I watched a bit of the second episode of Doll House, and it made me lol, not only is Helo chewing scenery with Badger/Romo Lampkin but look yonder, its Fred! How am I meant to take this show seriously? Especially as none of the characters seem to have that Whedon charisma, I mean I love  Faith…I mean Eliza, but Echo seems a bit… rubbish. I shall give it time.



2 Comments so far
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I enjoyed the wrestler too, although, I’m surprised you think he died at the end? I thought they left it intentionally vague.

Comment by rachel

He gave his big speech and he was about to do his big final move in his big final match and he kept collapsing with chest pains after being told if he wrestled again he could die. He might not have died, but I thought cinematically it had all the hallmarks which indicated death x (p.s sorry if I have ruined the film for you Gareth, you can tell me what happens at the end of Serendipity coz I have blocked it out of my mind)

Comment by Ellen

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