The Wrestler (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama
Fox Searchlight || R - 111 minutes - $39.99 || April 21, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-04-29


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer(s): Robert Siegel (written by)
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Ernest Miller


Theatrical Release Date: January 30, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Music Video
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Iíll be honest here: I had to Google who Mickey Rourke was. I never really noticed him in any other films, even though after finding out more I found out I have, I just never knew it was him. Dubbed mainly as his comeback film, The Wrestler is a film that literally came out of nowhere and has given him a second chance in the acting world again, along with great supporting roles from Maria Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

Randy ďThe RamĒ (Mickey Rourke) is a wrestler from a past time who is still doing what he loves best: wrestling. Heís working the underground circuit for money, which he needs badly as his landlord locks him out of his trailer since heís a bit late on the rent so he has to sleep in his van for the night. He wakes up to neighbor kids banging on the window to wake him up and he repeats the day yet again.

He visits a local strip club quite frequently and talks to a stripper there named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). She is being harassed by two people in the VIP lounge for being too old and a few mom jokes are made but Randy comes in to save her and yells at the punks who end up leaving. Randy and Cassidy talk for a while, and he pays her sixty bucks for the dance. He obviously likes her, but since strippers arenít allowed to date customers, they canít do anything outside of the club. Randy decides to continue his day and heads off to his job.

This time though before the wrestling match he talks with his opponent who asks him if he doesnít mind staples. Puzzled, Randy asks what he means. His opponent pulls out a staple gun, and we see the end result of the match which has left both Randy and the opponent a bloody mess. We are treated to what happened in the past twenty minutes in terms of the match. The combatants are involved in a giant weapons match that consisted of glass, staples, and a crap load of blood from both people. Randy also talks about his injuries he got while we see more and more of the fight, about how his arm is banged up because of a broken nail among other injuries. After being patched up though he collapses in the locker room and awakes in the hospital.

The doctor tells Randy that he needs to stop wrestling and he had a heart attack. He gives him a ton of pills to take and warns him again before leaving to quit the wrestling job. In a sudden state of despair, Randy yet again turns to Cassidy to console him and ask what he should do with his life. She tells him to try and bond with his family, but he lets her know that he has a daughter that hates him because he never comes by, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). Cassidy tells Randy to try and bond with her, so he heads out to find his daughter.

Stephanie now goes to college and lives in a house with her friends, and sees Randy one day while leaving for school. She disregards his appearance there until he says that he had a heart attack and goes off on him for never being there. Discouraged yet again in his life, Randy struggles with what to do next. Not only does his only family member hate him, he has no girlfriend and has to quit the job he loves. He still needs an income, so he gets a job at a local deli shop cutting and serving meat to customers. The job gets to him though, since heís not doing what he loves. He sets out though to earn a better living and get his daughter to like him, so he heads yet again to Cassidy for more help. She breaks club rules and the two meet to shop for Stephanie to get her a gift for all the times he wasnít there in her life.

The two end up bonding and we learn that Cassidy also has a kid, and sheís only doing this as a matter of support for her family. Randy offends her though by asking her to dance, among other things, and she drinks her beer and ends the date. He gives her an action figure of himself to give to her son as a reminder of the date. Randy heads off to meet Stephanie and give her two gifts, one that Cassidy and him picked out and a jacket in case she gets cold at night walking. She is reluctant to trust him since heís abandoned her throughout her life. The two go out to a place where they bonded a long while back, and dance together. He asks her to have dinner with him when itís over and she agrees to go on Saturday. But can Randy keep his promise about seeing her and not ruining it yet again for him and what will happen in his life regarding wrestling and Cassidy?

This is a truly amazing movie, thereís no doubt about it. The acting is by far the best Iíve seen in such a long time that it shocked me. I never knew that any of the cast could be this good, every line is perfectly read and the direction the movie goes is great. The only complaint I can muster is that the film seems a bit too short, I was hoping for a bit longer movie (or deleted scenes, of which there are none). This is one of the few flicks though that got a ton of praise over the past few months that honestly deserved it. Welcome back Rourke, Tomei, and Wood. Although the last two have been around for a while I guess.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Inside the Ring Featurette (43 minutes): This is actually multiple features, but Iíve chosen to just group it as one. In this monstrously long extra, the cast and crew talk about the filming of the movie and how hard it was (it was filmed in 35 days). Also other talk goes on about the history of wrestling and how the limited budget prevented the crew from doing other things they wanted to do. This deserves a watching, as there is a ton of information here that can be derived from it.

ďThe WrestlerĒ Music Video (4 minutes): Performed by Bruce Springsteen, the music video for the movie is shown. Itís catchy but nothing different than every other Springsteen song Iíve ever heard in the past ten years.

** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES **

Wrestler Round Table (25 minutes): Some of the people who wrestled from a few years back, including Diamond Dallas Page among others, sit down to talk about the film and its effects on them. Itís lengthy, and since I didnít know who these people were, I didnít enjoy it as much as someone who knows these wrestlers or who followed their careers.

Finally, a Digital Copy is available for Portable Media Players on the second disc.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

For a recent release I expected the transfer to be done perfectly, as thatís what Iím accustomed to with watching Foxís latest Blu-Rays. I was half right, in the sense that this is a great transfer but not the high-end one Iíve come to expect. There is a significant amount of grain and noise that hinders the dark scenes and contrast is also slightly off in a few of the strip club scenes. I could barely make out Randyís face at times, but on a positive note flesh tones and colors were perfect the entire movie. Itís still a phenomenal transfer, but it just doesnít hold a candle to recent releases.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that accompanies the film is overkill to say the least, as there are only a handful of action scenes (the wrestling ones, obviously) that used surround sound. The club scenes sounded dull and flat, with voices being too loud and booming for the atmosphere that it was intended for. Dialogue levels were consistent for the most part (except the aforementioned club scenes) and seldom did I have to crank up the volume. I was disappointed at the lack of surround use, but since it is mainly a dialogue-centered film I didnít really knock off too much for it. This is a passable track, just not one to show off to the friends.



.::OVERALL::.

The Wrestler Blu-ray only boasts three extra features, one of which includes a digital copy. Iím fond of that idea, the digital copy one that is, but I canít recommend this as a purchase because of the eventual re-release that will happen down the road. The film is spectacular, and the technical package is above-average although itís just not up to par with recent releases from Fox. This is a wrestler to see before the three count is up, but only if youíre renting a seat to the show.