When i first heard about this film it was Nicolas Cage who was in talks to do the project, so now excuse for being bias but when you see a great Oscar winning actor like Cage reject it and then to be replaced by Mickey Rourke a man who has as we all know had his problems in the past then I’m sure you can be forgiven  for losing interest. Never the less i went and watched to see what the cast and director were able to put together and i was in a state of shock when i left the theatre i do believe it is one of the most gripping, emotionally charged dramas you could possibly watch. For example a man like Rourke who put his heart and soul into not just the dramatic role but also the physical side of it to, going through grueling training regimes and diets to gain the shape of a pro wrestler was an amazing achievement in it self, i do believe he also used a lot of his life experiences to draw the emotion he gave in the film one scene in-particular is when he is talking to his daughter one on one with the close up on his face you can visibly see pain etched on his face and needless to say after this performance he gained highly deserved critical acclaim and a greater fan base (myself included).  But of course this film was not all about Rourke he had amazing back up from the rest of the main cast starting with Marisa Tomei who was exceptional as the struggling single mother who works as a stripper to provide for her and her child and also the uninterested love of  Rourke, It really came across on screen how much effort she had put into the role and she was fully deserving of her BAFTA and Second Academy Award nomination since her win the the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny. And last but not at all least the small but very important role of Evan Rachel Wood who plays Randy Robinson’s estranged daughter Stephanie. Wood more than holds her own in this film alongside what would be a great role model such as Tomei and im sure we will be seeing a lot more of Wood in the not so distant future. In short this film elegantly creates one mans struggle to win back the heart of his daughter, and a love of something so strong that he can’t give up on it even though it could end up killing him.