The Wrestler (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Wrestler</strong> (2008)

(In theaters, February 2009) I’m never too fond of the tragic dramatic arc, especially when it’s applied to characters who are somewhat sympathetic. And that may be the greatest achievement of Mickey Rourke in portraying the titular washed-up wrestler: Give us the impression that despite everything else, he’s still a winner. But don’t expect glam or triumph here, as we go from New Jersey strip clubs to New Jersey gyms and New Jersey small auditoriums. The Wrestler is trying to piece his life back together, but as all great tragic heroes, he’s got a few flaws that make it impossible for him to do so. The film ends in mid-flight, but the ultimate conclusion is clear. Harsh and gritty, at times too much so, The Wrestler isn’t a particularly good time at the movies, but it knows what it’s attempting to do, and it revolves around a fabulous performance. Compared to most of the Oscar-worthy class of 2008, it’s already not too bad.

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