This reviewer has never been a fan of "any" past work by Darren Aronofsky.
And, having had a general disdain for the world of television wrestling, for
passing off rehearsed stunts, and scripted dialogue as unrehearsed, it seemed
unlikely that "THE WRESTLER," would offer anything worthwhile. But, then the
blu-ray started and after just the right amount of time, the film came to its
conclusion, and,...it's a great film. Not "Great" as in feel-good, or "wow,
there's nothing else like it!" But, it's great, in that it tells its story well,
and it feels authentic throughout, and it pulls the viewer in, even if unwilling
at first, and holds their attention and makes them care about people they never
otherwise would've normally thought twice about! It's ending feels like the
original "Rocky" without the optimism, but, while not inspiring like that ending
was, it's still an inspired film!
"THE WRESTLER" focuses on the current life of Randy(the Ram)Robinson, a wrestler
struggling to pay the rent for the trailer he keeps in New Jersey. Over the
opening credits, we get a quick understanding of the energy and attraction to
the "wrestling" environment of the '80s in which Randy was a rising star. But,
those times have come and gone, and Randy's health has been ravaged by time and
the toll of his stunts in the ring. The film makes one appreciate the depth to
which even these pre-planned maneuvers in the ring can take on an athlete's
body. These actions, as well as the steroids and other drugs taken to keep Randy
and other wrestlers looking massive, take their toll. Randy has a heart attack
in the ring, and instantly, one feels for the guy we're watching on screen. He's
just doing the only thing he knows how to do, and struggling to keep afloat even
with that. So, when doctors tell him he has to stop all of the physical exertion
associated with his profession, we know the rational logic to this advice has no
merit in the world in which Randy has to live and survive in. "THE WRESTLER"
becomes profound! Randy's attempt at trying to consider other options and his
life are also emotionally stirring, as he tries to reconnect with the daughter
he's hardly known, and attempts to have a real relationship with a
stripper(Marisa Tomei). "THE WRESTLER" will move most viewers giving it a
chance and it's arguably the best work to come from all of the talent involved.
FOX has provided the correct j2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray.
Because the film has an intentionally gritty look, grain is consistently
present, although never intrusive. Colors vary in their intensity, but
are intentionally never rich and feel natural. Blacks aren't inky, but deep
enough to convey fine detail in darker scenes. Most of the film appears flat,
but the image didn't have more depth in the theatrical presentation either.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. Again, intentionally
subdued, bass is non-existent, and surrounds only kick in occasionally, but
effectively, to enhance the great music selections of the '80s/early '90s,
including hits from GUNS 'n' Roses, Rat and others from the period. Dialogue
comes through with perfect resonance.
Some worthwhile extras are included. A lengthy featurette offers interviews,
while examining virtually every aspect of the film's production.
Another featurette offers former professional wrestlers in a roundtable
discussion, examining the authenticity of the film. A music video for the great
Bruce Springsteen song played during the final credits, is featured.