Who'd have thought that Mickey Rourke, a Hollywood punch line with a list of turkeys as long as your arm, would come riding to the rescue of Darren Aronofsky, the formidably arty director of Pi and Requiem for a Dream? Following the flop of his sci-fi fantasy The Fountain, Aronofsky returns with this straightforward drama (2008) about a washed-up wrestling star (Rourke) who's still riding on the fumes of his 80s glory when a coronary forces him into retirement. The famously downbeat Aronofsky captures the grimy texture of life at the bummed-out bottom of the wrestling circuit, but the center of the movie is Rourke's unimpeachable performance as a man who exults in self-punishment. He looks like a truck ran over him, but at 52 he's still ripped enough to get away with the role; in the end the movie is about Rourke's indomitability more than the character's. With Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei.
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