Mickey Rourke as Robbie "The Ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler"
On Thursday night I met up with Rod, Danny and Gary at Hornet for dinner.
After dinner we walked over to the Mayan to catch the 7:30 showing of The Wrestler. It was nice to see a pretty crowded house, given that Rourke has just won the Golden Globe for his performance it was not surprising.
The film is set 20 years past Robin Ramzinki's hayday as Robbie "The Ram" Robinson, a professional wrestler who once wrestled "The Ayatolla" at Madison Square Garden. He still wrestles in small local New Jersey exhibition matches, which are far less regulated and much more voyeuristic than the pro matches he used to fight in.
The film starts off with the inside perspective of how certain tricks are performed in the ring. Like with a magicican, the curtains are opened and you get to see the slide of hand. At first, I felt like I was watching Mickey Rourke, but as the film progresses, the character of Robinson, and then Robin slowly emerge, revealing a truly layered performance.
Marrissa Tomei, a stripper at Cheeques, goes from seeing Ram as a customer to opening up herself to Robin. Both have decisions to make about whether or not they can move on from the personas they have created to survive, to whether they want to try to survive as themselves.
Robin's relationship with his daughter is also a sub plot. The interplay is one of the few insights we see into how the Ram got to be where he is today.
Rourke's performance won me over, and Tomei made another good choice in a challenging role. While the story is brutal at times, it deserved to be in contention this awards season.