Hi folks, I've been a bit lame updating my Oscar Watch post, so I''ll endeavour to catch up in the following days.
I'm going to state this right from the start, this is my favourite of the films I've seen so far this year. This compelling and touching film follows Mickey Rourke's weary wrestler (Randy "The Ram") trying to come to terms with retirement and old age. I don't want to write one of those reviews that details the plot in too much detail, so I won't, but I do want to highlight how tight the story is kept, with Darren Aronofsky's direction showing great economy and restraint. Toning down his usually highly stylised camera work and bereft of the type of relentless soundtrack featured in Requiem for a Dream, this is an earthier film, which I was extremely disappointed not to see at least nominated for Best Director.
The Academy has however recognised Rourke and Marisa Tomei with nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Rourke's performance is nuanced and entirely believable, mirroring his own well documented struggles with fame, fortune and fall from grace. It's a role he was born to play and along with his role in Sin City, it's great to see him hitting his stride again after a long hiatus. It would be a great shame if this role did not earn him an Oscar triumph.
Tomei is also fantastic in her supporting role, coming close to matching Rourke's performance and I imagine that she will also be in the reckoning when the winners are announced.
Overall this is a cohesive beautifully balanced film that I highly recommend. It also ends at exactly the right point, which is not a pleasure to be found in many a film. 9/10
Coming soon... Reviews of Milk and Frost/Nixon and next week I'll be watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.