When you watch Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” you got this I-hope-it-won’t-happen-to-me sensation. The story is about an aging wrestler, trying to survive and fight the challenges of life. And because he is at the dawn of his career, he tries his best to stay in the wrestling club, and manage to keep both ends meet.
There are two women figuring at the center of his life: a has-been prostitute, and his daughter. Both women has opposing views of him. The prostitute believes in his spirit to overcome the reality of his state, whilst, he is trying to connect with his daughter whom he has a rocky relationship after abandoning her. After a heart attack, he mellowed down from wrestling and tries to see his life from another angle. Normally, it is the feeling of “I should see my loved ones because I don’t I might die anytime soon.” Mr Rourke has this feeling after the heart operation. But after a while, and watching wrestling from an audience point of view, is very much different from his vantage point when he is the one doing it inside the ring.
At the last part of the story, the itch to be inside the ring prevails even if he was warned of his heart condition. It is a human spirit to think of the moment, and do what you like, and not consider the repercussions of our actions. Maybe the initial feeling of satisfaction generated from doing so is greater than the aftermath of its side effects after much has been done.
I love how the director ends his movie, Mickey Rourke jumping to his opponent but suddenly the curtain turns black as if the ending is left to the audience to make in their minds. Either he beats his opponent and retire for good, or he died from heart attack. Whichever it is, the movie scores perfectly. One of the good movies of 2008.
Mr Rourke deserves the Actor Trophy from Golden Globes. I also commend great acting from a “different” Marisa Tomei.