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The Iron Claw (2023) – Gateway Film CenterReview

The Iron Claw (Drama, Sports, Biography) [Based on True Story] (2023)


Director: Sean Durkin

Writer: Sean Durkin

Stars: Zac Efron, Holt McCallany, Jeremy Allan White, Harris Dickinson

Born to follow in their father's footsteps, four brothers chase their dreams and face their demons to become world champions in the Pro Wrestling industry. A story ripe with tragedy and a path to gold that seems paved in blood.

Based on the storied lives and careers of the Von Erich family, Sean Durkin follows their tragedy, endeavouring to allow audiences to glimpse into a tale all too familiar to wrestling fans of all ages. Filming took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for six weeks; actors were asked to perform actual matches with wrestler Chavo Guerrero as the primary consultant to provide a well-represented end product. It was produced by Access Entertainment, BBC Film, and House Productions and distributed by A24 and Lionsgate.

Trained into the art of Professional Wrestling, Fritz von Erich (Holt McCallany) wrestled throughout the 50s and 60s through to the 80s using his devastating finishing manoeuvre "The Iron Claw". After his career, his sons Kevin (Zac Efron), David (Harris Dickinson), Kerry (Jeremy Allan White) and Mike (Stanley Simons) were also introduced to the business, claiming their own spots within the spotlight. They struggle to aspire to Fritz's standard of man, and a generational curse dooms them into a fatal form of desperation.

Within an era of wrestling much stiffer than today, Durkin takes a hard look at Kevin Von Erich and the Von Erich legacy. The performative art of professional wrestling is highlighted, and the drama within the lives of these brothers is part of the spectacle.

Cursed by their family name, feeling as if wrestling was their only option due to their passion, but in large due to their ever-demanding father, "The Iron Claw" portrays an older era. Wrestling was gaining popularity, with the NWA's territory system reigning and the WWF on the rise. Through Kevin, a drama unfolds, highlighting his brotherly bonds and the tough lives they were forced to live.

The Iron Claw (2023) - IMDbAround the world of professional wrestling, you often hear, "Isn't it fake?" Durkin, with his latest film, shows that this is far from true. Even if what happens in the ring is predetermined, then how would you approach the physical and mental anguish laid upon these men.. Through the eyes of Efron's Kevin, his brother in White's Kerry is given most attention, probably being the most famous too; through their years in the ring, there are several cameos by actual wrestlers, which is simply a nod to wrestling audiences. The manner of the Von Erichs being portrayed is incredibly well done with immense physical transformations included. Right away, the mere showing of the difference inside and outside the ring sets a tone and explains what it is genuinely about to an uninformed viewer.

Baton Rouge-shot 'Iron Claw' a compelling heartbreaker | Movies/TV |  nola.comFor enthusiasts of pro-wrestling, "The Iron Claw" might be a look into a known past, appreciative of this tale being told despite oddities such as the notably missing Chris von Erich, the youngest son who also tragically committed suicide. Durkin's feature feels more easily approached by fans, although it could be appreciated by wider audiences under minimal guidance. It tightly delivers the careers of the second Von Erich generation, although it fails to capture character growth and the trauma I wish was more effective. Moments such as Efron's Kevin unable to hold his tears seeing his kids playing in the yard, telling them "Men don't cry" stood out, as well as Simons' Mike clearly struggling to deal with the constant torment inflicted upon him by his father. "The Iron Claw" closely resembles a flawless biography, although it fails to always capitalize upon the right moments.

A tight grip!