“The Iron Claw” is a masterclass in storytelling, meticulously detailing the intense journey of the Von Erich brothers in the cutthroat arena of professional wrestling. The movie not only presents the competitive world of wrestling but also beautifully captures the brothers’ unshakeable bond and their quest for immortality in the sports world. This film transcends the traditional sports genre, entwining a story of strength, family bonds and the indomitable human spirit. Von Erich’s tale is one of triumph, tragedy and everything in between. The viewers are taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, reflecting the highs and lows of their careers. Although tragic, “The Iron Claw” has one of the most beautifully told stories in recent years.
The acting in this film is next to none. Every line is delivered so expertly that each individual can feel the emotion of each character. Although everyone was great, not enough attention was being brought to Zac Effron. Returning to the screen can be difficult but Efrron proves that otherwise. He has some of the best acting seen in recent years and brings such a heaviness to the film and part of Kevin Von Erich that by the end of the film, you’re convinced that it was actually him. Nonetheless, fans of the brothers were upset about Jeremey Allen White’s portrayal of Kerry due to his height. Each brother captured the essence of their real-life counterpart and was able to create an emotional and impactful story.
“The Iron Claw” feels like a reverse sports movie. The attitude we usually see in terms of promoting toughness, take-no-prisoners, primal masculinity and whatever-it-takes as the road to success is rightfully vilified here. Instead, it puts a spotlight on the inner workings of this ultra-athletic family, in both the revels and tolls they take. The sense of family and brotherhood in this film is strong and by the end of it, viewers will be impacted. Each character has their ideals and passions, and they are all brought together by family. The themes of “The Iron Claw” are beautiful and shed light on the rough world of both wrestling and family.
However, there is a lot of style on display, beginning with a grainy, black-and-white flashback to Fritz’s glory days in the 1960s. “The Iron Claw” frequently indulges in the flashy, era-specific cheese of bad hair and worse clothes, which can be entertaining. This is especially true in the scene in which the Von Erichs discover the song that would become their anthem—the iconic “Tom Sawyer”—is a montage that recalls Scorsese’s muscularity (For any Rush fans out there, they play the entire song).
Although tragic, the story of the Von Erics is both emotional and beautiful. It’s good to see their story being told.