Just got out of "The Wrestler" and the film was pretty much all you heard and more. The performances are top notch and Evan Rachel Wood might even earn herself a supporting nomination - her sees opposite Mickey Rourke are emotionally crushing.
Aronofsky put his bag of tricks away and let the performances speak for themselves and said as much before the film began. "It was an honor to sit back and just let (Rourke's) performance happen," he said. The director said the last few days have been a whirlwind and the film was only completed only 6 days ago. Afraid of the hype he said it was a "small film" and tried to lower expectations. He praised Rourke and said the film was a tribute "to the crime of missing Mickey for 20 years" in the field of great acting roles. Apart from some shaky hand-held camera and gritty, almost grainy-cinematography, the visuals were restrained and classic.
Raw, visceral and humorous, "The Wrestler" was a winner all around seamlessly meshing serious, grave and funny scenes with little effort. The wrestling in the film was actually a lot more brutal than one would think, and some of the scenes were bloody and excruciating. Like the script, the best scenes were still the one between Randy The Ram (Rourke) and his daughter. All of their scenes are so good, the emotional centerpiece of the story, and just all to real.
Overall, "The Wrestler" is modest compared to the high concept stuff of the past, but this change serves him well, and proves he's much more than just cinematic tricks and pony show director. The drama is marvelous and he handles it in such a simple, but effective way.
Similarly, Clint Mansell's score was stripped down, simple and a meditative-like mantra. Music graph: a lot of the 80s metal was present in the film, but only in small snippets. The closest things to musical moments would be Ratt's "Round and "Round" and GNR's "Sweet child o mine" in the climax.
Definitely, the best film we've seen so far and pretty incredible casting that elevated this seemingly simple story to something really special, absolutely worth keeping an eye out for. And certainly even if you don't give a shit for the world of pro wrestling. [A]