Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler (2008) is a film that forces the viewers to ask questions rather than find answers. It is a film that explores the world of the working class as well as the performers with demanding jobs. In the film Mickey Rourke portrays a washed up wrestler Robin Ramzinski, however he is better known by his stage name Randy “The Ram” Robinson. The “Ram” finds himself at a crossroad in life, and must choose between the sport he loves or protecting his health.
If there were one specific structure that Aronofsky used in this film it would be journey. From the very beginning of the film until the last scene, Robin goes through a whirlwind of events.
From emotional victories, being desperate for love, a heart attack, cocaine filled nights and losing his only daughters love and trust, The Wrestler is a journey that many can identify with. Aronofsky’s directing style is unmatched by any other, with his in your face camera angles and the way he shows the character’s highest highs and lowest of lows.
Many of the questions I asked myself were, how was “The Ram’s” relationship with his first wife, and what is going through his mind while he is wrestling in the ring. The heart attack that “The Ram” faces after his bloody encounter with a crazy wrestler is foreshadowed. Everything is going Randy’s way in the beginning of the film, however he is aging and all good things must come to an end at some point.
In the opening credits the camera pans across a collection of newspaper and magazine headline and articles about “The Ram” and all of his accomplishments. Directly after that the film opens up with a dilapidated wrestler who seems to be somewhat unhappy, however he is faking it to make it. The manager of the park locks him out of his own trailer and things are not looking up for Randy. The end scene is the final match of “The Ram’s” career. Similar to the opening scene Randy is still an aging old man who is just trying to get by in life by doing the one thing in life that completes him.
The difference in the 2 scenes are that in the first scene the Ram is still scraping to get by with small venues, however in the last scene he is wrestling in front of a large crowd and he finally feels at home once again. The final scene conveys that Robin Ramzinski is dead and the only thing worth living for is Randy “The Ram” Robinson. At this point in the film, Randy has realized that he is only truly happy when he is wrestling and he could not think of a better way than essentially ending his life than in a wrestling ring.
The prop that is the most engaging to me would have to be the razor blade that “The Ram” uses in his first fight of the film. It really shows how dedicated Randy is to his job. It also reveals how demanding his job is as he uses the razor blade to intentionally draw blood in order to put on a better performance. The close up at the end of the film when Randy is on the top rope is by far the most emotional camera close up in the whole film. He is climbs the top rope to perform his signature move “The Ram Jam”, and as he reaches the top he hears the thousands of people cheering him onto certain victory. He begins to cry and thanks the crowd right before he leaps off the top rope to perform his move.
The working class of America is portrayed in the film. After Randy suffers his heart attack, he is forced to work a 9-5 job in order to keep his health at a safe level. At first he loves his job and loves interacting with the people, however weeks and months go by and he begins to sink into a depression after he is rejected by a stripper and cut off by his own daughter. He then realizes the only thing he has worth living for is his wrestling career. He injures himself purposefully on the job and runs out of the store in a rage of anger, because he wants to return to the ring. Randy portrays the people of the world, who have a dream and a wanting to do something meaningful, but instead they get sucked into the 9-5 world and they never end up making their dreams come true. It is better to do something you love and make a pittance than to do something you hate just to get by in life.
Our culture in America is all about power. Power is determined by money, and only the smart steadfast people have the money. Money is the key to happiness and without money you cannot be truly happy. The last 2 sentences I just wrote is completely false, that is what we are trained to believe. This film challenges the viewers to live life to the fullest and do what makes you happy. Do not get stuck in the rut of life, but break out of the shell and do something you love! I would rather just get by in life by doing something I love, rather than making a lot of money by doing something I hate. “The Ram” realized that he loved wrestling and would rather risk his health by doing that, rather than working the deli counter 9-5.
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