Rourke Clinches Wrestler
Actor makes a bodyslam of a comeback with portrait of a has-been
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2008 10:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Mickey Rourke takes the title role of The Wrestler and pins it to the mat in a stunning comeback, say critics. The tragicomic portrait of a washed-up star still hitting the circuit decades past his prime "is not just a comeback performance but something much rarer: a rounded, raddled portrait of a good man," longtime Rourke fan Anthony Lane writes in the New Yorker.

A lesser actor might have milked the role for easy pathos, David Ansen writes for Newsweek, but Rourke adds a "tough, tender humor" that tosses clichés out of the ring. "The most brutally honest performance of the year" should make Rourke a real awards contender (he scored a SAG nomination today) and breathe new life into his career, writes Rex Reed of the New York Observer.