Director: Darren Aronofsky
Year Released: 2008
Messianic Showman Suffers for Your Entertainment. Aronofsky plays the story of an aging professional wrestler (the marvelous Mickey Rourke) at the end of his professional career with a heavy hand: he wears glasses, he's alone, his heart is bad, he wears an older-model hearing aid, his coat is covered in duct tape, he has to endure physical punishment for a living, he works a menial job at Acme, his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) hates him, he lives in a van down by the river in New Jersey (dear me!). His past offenses against family and friends are ignored: he's got an unclogged heart of gold now, he wants to make amends and even though he lives in the past, that's okay because he knows he's a mess but he's willing to try and fix things (Americans not only love entertainers but also people who make an attempt to straighten themselves out). The greatest move Aronofsky could have pulled was casting someone like hard-living, rough-talking Rourke as the lead - making it a case of art imitating life - though the talk of "Rourke's Grand Return to Prominence" is a little thoughtless: he's always been around, albeit in smaller roles (very good in Mr. Gallo's Buffalo '66 and Mr. Penn's The Pledge and holding up his end in Sin City and Man on Fire). Don't call it a comeback, he's been here for years....