4 stars; rated R
Directed with welcome straightforwardness by Darren Aronofsky (Pi
, Requiem for a Dream
, The Fountain
), The Wrestler
follows Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke), a 20-years-past-his-prime wrestler working a low-budget circuit. The story is uncluttered, brutal and moving. Rourke is amazing, Marisa Tomei is excellent as Pam, an aging stripper known as Cassidy, trying not to get involved with Randy, and Evan Rachel Wood does fine work as Randy's estranged daughter Stephanie. Wow.