A few weeks ago, Nass and I were fortunate enough to catch the AFI Film Fest premiere of "The Wrestler" - a film that has been getting a TON of hype since it's world premiere at the Toronto Film Fest earlier in the year (and started a multi-studio bidding war). While the film signals the successful return of director Darron Aronofsky (of "Requiem for a Dream" fame), the real story here is the so-called "resurrection" of actor Mickey Rourke. In the film, Rourke plays a pro wrestler who is 20 years past the peak of his career- once being at the top of the wrestling world, and now forced to perform for small groups of die hard fans at community centers and conventions. A heart attack forces him out of the ring and more importantly, forces him to reevaluate his life, his relationship with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood who puts in a great performance), and a blossoming romance with an exotic dancer (Marisa Tomei in a role all the guys are sure to dig...).
Having seen the movie now, I can definitely say that Rourke's performance lives up to the hype- You really really feel for this big lug of a guy by the end of the film. Though a brilliant character study, "The Wrestler" isn't exactly best picture material- But, it IS best actor worthy for sure. The film brilliantly balances emotionality, humor, and visceral action. This one's highly recommended folks:
* Checkout the high quality QuickTime HD version over at Apple Trailers