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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beyond The Mat - Interesting Pro Wrestling Documentary Movie Review

Mickey Rourke played an aging, broken down, professional wrestler in the film, "The Wrestler"  He  abused drugs and drove his body to the brink in the demanding world of pro wrestling.

I wondered how  "The Wrestler" compared to the real world of professional wrestling. 

Then along came "Beyond The Mat." "Beyond The Mat" is a documentary film about lives of Pro Wrestlers. Filmmaker Barry Blaustein interviews both young and old professional wrestlers performing on a variety of levels ranging from the all powerful WWF to lowly back country warehouses.

The most recognizable wrestlers that Barry Blaustein spends time with is 'The Snake' Roberts, Terry Funk and Mick Foley (aka Mankind) 

I'm not sure that this is the best filmed documentary.  There are no creative camera angles, the scenes are not spliced together in any creative fashion and the film is devoid of virtually any aesthetic efforts.  The production, while very professional, does have more of a do it yourself feel to it.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that it feels like a home video but I do get the impression that Blaustein hasn't shot a documentary before.

With that in mind, I could not stop watching this film.  Blaustein's movie shows pure wrestling reality. The action is fake but the beatings and pain are very real.  The wrestlers, for the most part, are loving fathers but their careers test the strength of family. Wrestlers can experience glory but there is also drug addiction and permanent injury.

Most impressive was this film's ability to show wrestling without taking sides, making judgements or drawing any profound conclusions.  The film really lets the subjects reveal their lives naturally.  He asks no questions with the intent of making the subjects emotional or more 'interesting.'  The wrestlers do this on their own through Blaustein's lens and the result is very satisfying.

This is one of those films that, at 108 minutes long, I could have kept watching.

"Beyond The Mat" is 108 minutes long, rated R. Definitely has some very real, violent scenes and profanity.

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