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Rourke gives takedown performance in Oscar- nominated flick, ‘The Wrestler’

We’ve seen countless films that are the product of their lead roles. Typically featuring heart-wrenching stories about a character’s life struggle, these films tend to flood our theaters come award season due to the need for powerful lead actors.

Unlike the false attempts that simply seek Oscar gold, more rewarding stories spawn from the creative talent depicting their roles through fascinating realism. Today, it takes an imaginative director and a unique performer to tell stories like “The Wrestler.”

While the Academy Awards have already recognized “The Wrestler” with a nomination for Mickey Rourke as one of the best actors in a leading role, the film is first formed by the intriguing story of a riveting man. Rourke portrays a has-been professional wrestler who is trying to hold onto his fame and purpose in life. By frequenting local wrestling events at high school gymnasiums and spending his nights at a strip club, Randy “The Ram” Robinson fears he is losing sight of more important things when a doctor tells him he should no longer wrestle.

When director Darren Aronofsky hired down-and-out actor Mickey Rourke for the lead role of “The Wrestler,” his intentions couldn’t have been much clearer. There’s no better person to portray a character in search of redemption than an actor who clearly could use a boost himself. With a documentary-like cinematography that follows Rourke through nearly every scene, “The Wrestler” refines its story through the people within it.

Marisa Tomei gives “The Wrestler” an endearing sense of compassion, even as she portrays, Cassidy; the exotic dancer that Randy garners much respect for. When Randy calls upon Cassidy to help him piece together the gaps in his life, the action is not only ground-breaking for Randy but causes an eye-opening view on the meaning of relationships for Cassidy as well.

There is relentless power in actors like Rourke and Tomei. With an ability to evoke true human emotions out of characters that often transcend reality, the important message of “The Wrestler” is even more deserving of your full attention and wavering emotions.

Letter Grade: A

Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use.

Runtime: 115 min.

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

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