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Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Wrestler

Challenging Time Again

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Darren Aronofsky's latest installment, The Wrestler inspects human body and inherent spirit. Once you are in the wrestling show business where all focal attractions do demand a body of granite and a soul of masterfully mimicked super-dominance, then you and all your Fans know that your body can't quit on you. That it truly NEVER will. You are not a mortal, rather a super-product, a mythical phenom, a Demigod. Did you believe that? According to popular belief, even better/worse, experience: every body quits. That's why everybody quits. Uhm. It is a question of when, not a question of if. According to our current knowledge, at least.

Sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem concludes that not knowing the exact date by which a body quits on a mortal - makes the mortal an immortal. Cool design huh? Darren Aronofsky, on the other hand, decides to tell a tale using delicate Cronenbergian tones, though metaphor decides to bite this time, as opposed of whispering silhouettes of subtle thoughts into your masterfully sized ears.

The name of the game is rather straightforward here: this is good, old fashioned, raw cinematic narration without all the detail work Aronofsky is fond of using. Not this time though: the rawness of the environment - inner/spiritual and outer environment - this story unfolds in demands to place you in a position in which you could scientifically relate to the imminent/evident stench of colliding male bodies. The bodies that are criticized by many, having no clue with two lost holes in it about how demanding it is to do what these entertainers are doing. And there is no proper place and proper time to rest, either. The next match is always coming up, regardless how well the wrestler performed a couple of weeks ago. The protagonist of the story is in a constant escape. He escapes from a painfully blank, solitary reality on a match-to-match basis, exhibiting his run in front of the Fans, FOR the Fans. There is no quitting for the spirit, there is no quitting for the body, neither.

Mickey Rourke's portrayal of '80's Wrestling Phenom Randy "The Ram" Robinson is as close to flawless as you will ever care wishing for. This is a hardened, still-muscular, wrinkly soul in a hardened, still-muscular, wrinkly body. Body though ages, and the soul may remain playful. So eager to deliver. So ready to please the grateful Fans or to fuel the passion of everyday average haters. Does not matter.

What matters is: to be reacted to. Being reacted to is what defines a Star. Once reaction time is over: Stardom is over. When you finally check on your watch though to see if time indeed have passed you by, then there is the painfully blatant potentiality of a possible realization - shocking you to the very core, needles to say - that it just: had, indeed.

The film delivers solid humane drama as you witness a Randy Robinson who has absolutely NO ONE and NOTHING in his life. No one and nothing except the Fans, whom are distant admirers of a distant, pretty much mythological figure. They have zero relation towards- and interest in Randolph Robinson. A Superstar Wrestler is not a human, oh, come on, did you truly believe that they are? No. They indeed pack considerate charisma and consorting, absolutely amazing human autonomy, each blown deliberately to Larger Than Life, even Larger Than You Could Imagine size.

The point comes when Rourke's character has to face with the fact that his Over The Top Persona is no longer sustainable by the body his spirit is occupying. A spirit that is forced to be restless, a spirit that always have been forced to be restless, so it could generate profit in a ring that dictates rules by the amount of pain one signs on for. The film reveals necessary ignorance towards what the body would recognize as a comfortable pace, as result of the constant necessity to perform. The necessity to deny the – check this - reality of reality. Because only the Fans do represent the aspect of reality that the Wrestler lives and performs for.

What fuels this inner stance is the constant urge, even need, to force the body to function as that of a Superhuman. Rourke's character challenges Time, telling the Ultimate Conqueror that he is still capable of doing what he could do in prime times. Time accepts the challenge.

As mentioned, The Wrestler is solid drama. Raw and honest drama. The best aspect of the installment is that it remains entirely truthful to its main agenda of keeping these admirable qualities intact, non-tinkered with. The Ram's extremely scarce interpersonal relationships are portrayed precisely. A disappointed daughter is delivered as an acceptable aspect, yet, the relationship between Rourke's character and a prostitute acquaintance tells even more about the Ram. There is a scene in which the protagonist has absolutely no one to turn to, so he chooses to express his doubts and feelings towards his prostitute acquaintance. The woman's reaction is a perfect representation of how Rourke's character is situated in this world.

Aronofsky's newest delivery to date does not want you to drop your jaw in amazement, neither it wants to pick it up and put it in places a decent girl never even heard of. Instead, this motion picture delivers a thorough portrayal of a human state of saddening solitary and remembered, dim fame. The Ram remains a Fighter, nevertheless. A Fighter who has Faith, a Faith that remains Indestructible. You know what Faith is? It is the thing you lose if you did not even have it.

The Ram remembers joy, and there is nothing more sour than but the remembrance of joy. This particular remembrance comes to the protagonist as a persistent shadow, leaving us to wonder if is it but the shadow, or is it the tired flesh that tells us more honestly about who the Wrestler really is. A dim fame may always come back to haunt you in its full glory, once you start to long for it for the sufficient time and with the sufficient passion. The question is, which The Ram has to face with, as well: is it advisable to desire that fame again, or is it more fruity to let it go?

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