Golden Era's Forgotten Gem
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
In the first of our weekly features we look at great films you have most likely forgotten.
With it being Wreslemania Sunday (yes i'm a wrestling fan) its only fair that we look back on Mickey Rourkes fantastic performance in "The Wrestler.".
Being Realistic for a second, this film should not have worked. Firstly a film about wrestling isn't exactly going to excite the box office or the critics. Secondly the films lead actor Mickey Rourke was one of Hollywood's biggest fall from stardom since his fame in the 80's and wasn't seen as the star power to bring in an audience,
Add into this a director (Darren Aronofsky) who had only done 1 other film since the great "Requiem for a dream" 8 years earlier, A script writer for who this was only his first big film and a cast that is a little underwhelming in my opinion. This didn't exactly scream Oscar winner when it was released.
However sometimes everything just clicks! Rourkes performance as a down and out wrestler from the 80's (when wrestling was at its strongest), trying to hold a job down whilst also holding on to his wrestling past (and everything that's goes with that) is fantastic to watch. Search online the name of any wrestler from days gone by and there is hundreds of examples which mimic the path he takes and how close to the truth this performance is.
The supporting cast however weak they may seem on first view support the lead in telling this story brilliantly, even the wrestlers who have roles don't stand out for bad reasons.
Unfortunately Rourke has not been able to keep this level of performance up after this role (see the relatively flat performance in Iron Man 2). considering also that wrestling films are not exactly flooding cinemas in the years since and this film ends up falling into a collection of films that is best described as "yeah that was a great film but i haven't watched it in years"
I encourage you to go back and give this another go, even if you are not a wrestling fan the films still stands up strong.