‘The Iron Claw’ movie review: Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White are riveting in grimly glorious sports biopic 

Feb 9, 2024

A scene from 'The Iron Claw'

A scene from 'The Iron Claw'

Given the drama, tears, and ultimately the joy of a hard-earned victory, sports movies are sure to be winners. We all love an underdog, and the grand tradition of a sports movie focuses on overcoming all kinds of obstacles to realize a dream.

iron claw

Director: Shawn Durkin

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Story: The True Story of the Famous Von Erich Wrestling Family

Duration: 132 minutes

sean durkin's iron clawHowever, the series, which focuses on the Von Erich family and features three generations of wrestlers, is quite disappointing. There's no triumphant ride into the sunset for Kevin (Zac Efron), the only surviving son of the five Von Erich boys. However, Kevin finds a kind of peace, and we, the hurt and battered audience, are happy for him.

The film begins with patriarch Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany) telling his sons, Kevin and Jack Jr., that the only way to get ahead in the world is to be stronger and better than everyone else. It refers to the Von Erich curse which Fritz seeks to defeat through force and his wife Doris (Maura Tierney) through religion.

A scene from 'The Iron Claw'

A scene from 'The Iron Claw'

The film jumps forward to 1979 where Kevin and his brothers, David (Harris Dickinson) and Mike, (Stanley Simmons) are sitting down to breakfast. Fritz, who created World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), and has always believed in tough love, asks Mike to come bulk. One of the Von Erich boys, Kerry (Jeremy Allen White), is off training for the Olympics, while Kevin has recently won the Texas NWA Heavyweight Champion, and David has shown promise.

However, Mike is interested in music, and Kevin feels that his father is putting too much pressure on his brother. After a match, Kevin meets Pam (Lily James) and a sweet romance blossoms between the two.

As tragedy after tragedy befalls the Von Erich family, you're left to wonder whether it's a curse brought about by the change of the family name from Adkison to Von Erich, or thanks to the toxic masculinity promoted and propounded by Fritz . There is also a fatigue that comes from fate angering you with every sling and arrow. Durkin, a fan of professional wrestling and fascinated by the Von Erich family, decided not to include the story of youngest son Chris, who died by suicide, as he said in an interview, “It was another tragedy that couldn't have been filmed.” Couldn't really afford it,” and we're grateful for it.

Where the film works are the brutally choreographed fights and the exceptional cast. Efron is the steady center, the trembling rock amidst all the grief, longing and loss, while White uses his expressive eyes and pauses to great effect. iron claw It's hard to watch for many reasons, but it's also thrilling and positive in many ways.

Iron Claw is currently playing in theaters

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