Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to see The Wrestler on its first day of release at our local cinema in Brixton, The Ritzy.I had been very keen to catch it, but I still can’t say why. As it turns out, I really enjoyed it, but Anna was underwhelmed. The critics have been largely thrilled, but not all of them. Time found it to be ‘cliche battered’, and to a certain extent, it was.
But I found myself really rooting (if you’ll excuse the Antipodean meaning of that word) for Mickey Rourke‘s character Randy. The Mrs did not. Could he be a hero for all the self-centred men out there? A guy who has done what the hell he wants his whole life, and continues to? Afterwards, I coudln’t help but think of Albert Camus and The Outsider (L’Etranger). Although the protagonists of the two stories clearly have very little in common, save for a big dollop of lonliness, the messages seem similar, and perhaps, too, those that enjoy rooting for them. I once read that The Outsider was voted the number one book by men in the UK in a Guardian poll, and have been toying with the idea we’re (men) all self-centred pricks who only come in from the cold for survivalist purposes. No original thought there then. Perhaps director Darren Aronofksy is a fan of existentialism, but who knows. The film certainly didn’t purport to be anything of the kind, even if Randy’s lonliness did come through in great spadefuls.
As for Rourke, it’s painful to go with the staus quo sometimes, but he was bloody good. Even if he was a cliche.