Thursday, March 27, 2014
ARONOFSKY WEEK - The Wrestler, and A Different Obsession
The Ram lives in a mobile home, alone, having lost all the fortune and fame of his late 80s wrestling superstardom. He plays a wrestling video game, one with his likeness, with the neighborhood kids on an original Nintendo. His van, complete with a Ram action figure stuck to the dash, gets him from match to match as he blasts Motley Crue and The Scorpions. The wrestling spectators are few and far between, and thirsty for blood from the performers who work out the result of the matches ahead of time back stage. There are autograph sessions at YMCAs that attract maybe a dozen fans. The popularity of wrestling has clearly waned since the 80s, and former stars like The Ram are paying for their hedonism with a world that doesn't want them anymore. His life is a sad state.
The Wrestler finds Aronofsky with a shift in styles from his previous, earlier pictures. Here, his camera is less flashy until the moment calls for embellishments. His camera follows Randy from behind a majority of the time, and stays omnipresent rather than calling attention to itself to give the film a documentary feel. The behind the scenes of these bargain basement wrestling matches is fascinating as these former arena-filling monsters discuss who will put who in a choke hold and who might win that night. But it all depends on the crowd and who they're pulling for that night, because more than they are athletes these broken men are entertainers.