TORONTO: ‘The Wrestler’ is the talk of the fest

Posted by · 12:22 am · September 6th, 2008

Just two days and a few hours into TIFF 2008 and already one film is emerging as the talk of the festival.

I do not see “The Wrestler” until Monday, right after “Che.” But I am counting the hours. Every year there seems to be a little film that arrives here with not a lot of advance notice and captures the imaginations of the audiences and critics on the way to becoming one of the hottest films of the season. Discovery is often what TIFF is all about. Finding that gem, celebrating it and letting the world know it is here.

I remember “The Apostle” in 1997, as I’ve recounted in this space before. Two groups of men got up and ran out of the theater, dialing their cell phones on their way up the aisle. As Robert Duvall told it to me, they began making deals for the film in the lobby of the the theater, until Harvey Weinstein turned it into a nightmare.

Duvall eventually sold his film, for a small profit to October Films, which released it gently, building up steam, campaigning him for a lead actor nomination. How he ultimately lost the Oscar is beyond me, but I digress…

“Whale Rider,” “Boogie Nights,” “American Beauty,” “Sideways,” Walk the Line,” “Pollock” and “Crash” all arrived here without much advance notice and left the talk of the industry.  And that’s happening right now for Darren Aronofsky’s film.

Apparently the word on Mickey Rourke’s performance is so strong it is being called one for the ages, in the manner of Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood.” Two guys behind me in line claimed to have seen the film and adored it. Cannot wait. Unlike Kris, I was a huge fan of Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream.”  I thought it was the best film of 2000, with two stunning performances from Ellen Burstyn and Jennifer Connelly. Addiction, any sort of addiction has never played out with with such genuine, horror on screen before.

And as I previously said…welcome back Mickey…it’s been a long time coming.

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3 responses so far

  • 1 9-06-2008 at 11:57 am

    Troy said...

    I’m not crazy about what Aronofsky has done in the past, except maybe Pi and Burstyn’s performance in Requiem, but I like how his movies are quite unique. I’ve always liked Rourke, so I’m glad his performance is generating the buzz that is being reported. Also, what is up with the titles? The Wrestler, and he is working on The Fighter. Those are some boring titles, especially after his first two movies had great titles.

  • 2 9-06-2008 at 1:01 pm

    Nick Plowman said...

    I am crazy about Aronofsky, and Rachel Wood, and Tomei and the fact that Rourke rocks in this, and Bruce Springsteen. I am so in. In a big way.