“After many years in the wilderness and being considered MIA professionally, Mickey Rourke, just like the washed-up character he plays, attempts a return to the big show in The Wrestler,” writes Variety‘s Todd McCarthy in a review posted early this evening.
“Not only does he pull it off, but Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances. An elemental story simply and brilliantly told, Darren Aronofsky‘s fourth feature is a winner from every possible angle, although it will require deft handling by a smart distributor to overcome public preconceptions about Rourke, the subject matter and the nature of the film.
“Co-produced by Wild Bunch in France, where Rourke has retained his most loyal following through thick and thin, this is nonetheless an American picture through and through, beginning with the way it strongly evokes the gritty working-class atmosphere of numerous ’70s dramas.
“Spare but vital, and with the increasingly arty mannerisms of Aronofsky’s previous work completely stripped away, the film has the clarity and simplicity of a great Hemingway short story — there’s nothing extraneous, the characters must face up to their limited options in life, and the dialogue in Robert Siegel‘s superior script is inflected with the poetry of the everyday.”