#94. The Wrestler (2008)
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Robert Siegel
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler features one of the best performances of the 2000’s in Mickey Rourke’s Randy “The Ram” Robinson, and that alone is enough for it to make it onto my top 100 list. The Wrestler sees the aging once-great professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” decide to hang up the boots after a series of serious health issues. He battles his way through the independent wrestling scene, tries to mend his relationship with his daughter (played by Evan Rachel Wood), and finds love in an unexpected place. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Aronofsky film if our main character didn’t suffer – the allure of the squared circle proves to be too much for The Ram, and he arranges for one final match against his long-time arch-nemesis The Ayatollah. The Wrestler has a lot in common with other Aronofsky films like Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, exploring themes of dark themes like obsession and the longing for greatness. Rourke’s masterful performance is supported by Marisa Tomei’s incredible turn as a stripper named Pam (or Cassidy) who wins the affections of The Ram. The Wrestler features two of the best performances of the decade, accurately explores the dingy underworld of independent professional wrestling, and successfully tells a truly moving tale of a man far past his prime who is unwilling to give in to old age. The Wrestler isn’t for everybody, but it’s a hell of an experience if you can stomach it.