I have been fascinated by the world of professional wrestling for years. I believe that when theater in the 20th century is studied from the vantage point of 500 years from now, professional wrestling — and in particular, the heyday of 1980s wrestling — will emerge as one of the most powerful expressions of theater of our time. So, to watch Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” is to experience a long overdue homage to the power of professional wrestling. The film gets at the guts of what drives the allure of the ring for Randy “the Ram” Robinson — and through the charisma of Randy “the Ram” what draws in the bloodlust-driven spectators. The direction is visceral and raw. Aronofsky tells the story with simplicity and authenticity. And Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime that is not to be missed.
Diane Paulus helms the Broadway revival of “Hair,” to open March 5.