When they asked me to write a tribute page, almost instantly, I thought about Mickey Rourke. A man that you know had been suffering for so long time yet never hesitate to speak about himself, his past, his feelings, his highs and lows. A man who never portray himself to be righteous, to be perfect, to be likeable. A true warrior, not on screen, but in life.
In one of his best performing movie, ‘The Wrestler’, Mickey Rourke played this wrestler who had
his golden age long gone past him, who’s struggling in life and work.
One and half hour’s astonishing performance, leaving us audience at the edge of our seat. The only reason he is able to do that, is because Mickey is being dangerously truthful, honest about himself, as well as the character he is playing: Randy. You and me we both know he is going all out, for Randy. He pushed himself into those edges , to let himself go back to those dark places, those places he had been avoiding all his life time, just to bring this character alive. And we can all agree that he is, indeed, trying to bring some justice to this man whom he’s played.
Throughout his performance we feel Randy’s pain. A man who despite had a difficult past trying so hard to find himself a new path, new hope in his life. Randy’s only real connection with the world is a stripper named Cassidy (Marissa Tomei), whom he visits regularly and plies with dollar bills. For both of them, there’s more there than a business transaction. Tomei, really shines here as a stripper on the edge of being past her prime, and starting to feel it. In Randy, she sees her future and she sympathizes with him, sensing perhaps the gentle man lurking inside his scarred hulk.
We, like Cassiday, root for Randy because we know that here is a good man, a man who understands his mistakes but doesn’t know how to fix them. He’s big and broken yes, but he’s also kind, gentle, and the haunted look in Mickey Rourke’s eyes is that of a man desperately reaching out for love. He gets his chance, when a heart attack forces him out of the ring. Deeply shaken, he reaches out to his estranged daughter and takes a real job. He’s good at this new, less glamorous, employment and maybe he’ll even be good at being a father. For the first time in his life, Randy starts to see a future in doing something besides wrestling. Yet he still hears the siren call of the ring and with a few setbacks, we know he might be lured back in, to his death.