This movie succeeds very well at one thing, and that is that it completely draws us into this character of Randy the Ram, so much so that it is almost an ET-Elliot type connection where we feel all of his emotions with him. He feel his despair and desperation and the exhilaration he gets from his wrestling, even if he’s just grasping at former glory.
Most of the reason for this comes from Rourke’s brilliant performance. I know that it has been hyped up a lot, but there is a reason.He not only had to do tons of physical training, but he was obviously deeply invested in this character’s emotions. He is able to convey so much meaning in simple winces while in the ring.
I did find the plot to move slightly towards the formulaic, mostly in the way everything in his life was going to crap one scene after another, but oh well. It did set up the brilliant ending. This felt like it could have been a documentary, that’s how real it seemed. Great movie.