As The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke puts in his finest performance in his long and (at times) illustrious career. What’s perhaps more remarkable is that Aronofsky has crafted what it at its heart a feel good film, one owing much to the original Rocky (not, naturally, the repulsive sequels) as we follow the descent of a fighter far past his prime.

Randy “the Ram” Robinson is trolling the bottom heap of the wrestling circuit, peddling videos from his prime, and struggling just to keep his supply of steroids flowing. He’s got the hots for a local pole dancer, and has an estranged relationship with his daughter. As he fights for his big comeback, he is siderailed when he discovers he’s suffering from terminal health issues – if he fights again, it may well be his last.

It should be trite and derivative, but it all works so damn well, from the 80s pop-metal soundtrack to the sad sack, puffy performance by Rourke. There are great moments of humour mixed with the pathos, and the brutality of the fights is tempered by the tender awkwardness of his courtship of the stripper.

A wrestling film that never feels inauthentic, it’s a strong contender for film of the fest, and a tremendous achievement by director and actor alike.