darren aronofsky’s least interesting film to date. pi is powerful, lo-fi and cerebral. requiem has the multiple storylines and addiction themes as well as a killer soundtrack. the fountain, while his least entertaining film, has an immense depth and imagination to it. it’s one of those films i’ll probably revisit every few years and get into more and more as i understand it more. the wrestler, however, is what it is. it’s well made and features a great performance from rourke (everyone’s darling for the next 10 minutes), but i don’t think it has the depth of his other films. it’s got elements of rocky, city by the sea, and about a million other films that feature washed up has beens looking for redemption. the film doesn’t beg you to like rourke’s character, which is a good thing. it presents him warts and all and essentially allows you to make your own judgment on his character (thus the ending). the ending, by the way, was well set up by the early abrupt cuts of music/action. you question where aronofsky was going with that and the final scene is the answer.
for me a film’s success is largely based upon the existence of a main character i can like, relate to, appreciate in some way. ultimately, rourke’s character just didn’t do it for me. he’s a sad character, but that’s not difficult for a director to do. he’s sympathetic, sure, but not quite enough. he’s sympathetic not because of the easy things that make him sympathetic – he’s a screw up, he had a heart attack, he’s a nice guy, but more because of the fact that he’s an average guy. maybe he’s too average. truth is, i feel sorry for him more than anything else. he’s not dumb like rocky, but rocky is a better person. rocky is a guy who is trying harder to be a good person. rocky loves adrian and plays with the neighborhood kids like rourke does here, but rocky isn’t asshole enough to leave his daughter hanging around while he bangs some bimbo in a public bathroom. i guess what it comes down to for me is that life isn’t like baseball. in baseball you can bat hit the ball 30-40% of the time and be considered great. in life batting .300 makes you a shithead in my eyes. rourke didn’t need to bat 1.000 to be great, but striking out with his daughter is like pulling a bill buckner; to beat an analogy to death. you get the point.
what’s the deal with marissa tomei as a failed stripper? yeah, right. i’ve never been to a strip bar, but i can guarantee she’d be a major earner. good, solid film, not as amazing as some would have you think. would i watch it again tomorrow? probably not.Watched in theater