Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Wrestler

Taking the cliched arc of every Rocky-story you can think of, then inverting it from an up-down-up trajectory to a down-up-down model, 'The Wrestler' cannot claim originality and, in tune with all Aronofsky's earlier downers (eg. 'Requiem for a Dream'), can't leave the audience on a high. It rises or falls on the strengths of its performers. Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke are fine, but then you get the feeling they're both pretty close to their characters anyhow. Much has been made of their characters selling their bodies as spectacle for a living (Tomei plays a lap dancer, Rourke a wrestler), but the fact is they are playing actors. Actors of rarefied sorts it is true, but actors nevertheless. They are also playing actors coming to the end of their natural sell by date and desperately seeking that comeback role. Rourke seems to have hit that spot with most of the awards bodies, Tomei less so (though she deserves better), but you have to wonder what Rourke could do if not a burnt-out wrestler. It's all too close to the bone, and just a wincy bit pornographic in the true sense of the term.



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