Zac Efron’s The Iron Claw review: one of the best sports dramas ever

Telling a story that’s already well known can be quite a risk, but ‘The Iron Claw’ really hits the ball out of the park. The film, directed by Sean Durkin, is about Von Erick and his family of professional wrestlers who are believed to be “cursed.” Well, not literally but figuratively – cursed with the tragedy of being ‘over-ambitious’.

Set in the 1980s and 1990s, the film shows how the three sons of wrestling company owner Fritz Von Erich struggle to stay afloat and pursue an immortal legacy in the highly competitive world of professional wrestling. They seek it at the expense of elusive happiness and family life. Yes, they remain immortal in memories, but their lives are not really the “ideal” lives. It is extremely tragic, to say the least.

Watch the trailer here:

Led by a stellar Zac Efron, who plays older brother Kevin, the film also sees Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Stanley Simons, Holt McCallany and Lily James in pivotal roles. They bring a measured vulnerability to the act without sacrificing the not-so-glorious side of chasing a legacy.

Director Durkin keeps things somber with the story that revolves around family dynamics and brotherhood amid a burning desire for ambitions. What’s interesting is that a movie about professional wrestling, which on the surface is just about machismo, is quite tender and full of human emotions underneath.

The production and set really teleport you to the early 1980s and 1990s, using picturesque spots and vintage camera-style textures. The era is captured in motion and in subtext on the T. The film doesn’t shy away from showing toxic masculinity for what it is. There is no glorification, only facts. In fact, you feel sorry for them in moments when you see the “American caged” dream mentality overpowering their human instincts and taking a toll on their mental health.

The way sports are used to tell the story of their struggles is effortless and the attempt to keep it authentic is visible. It’s hard-hitting and emotional, but doesn’t compromise on the entertainment quotient. There’s enough action to feel that adrenaline rush.

Zac as Kevin, among others, really delivers a great performance. You root for Kevin more because of the way Efron is able to portray him with sensitivity yet firmness. There is no attempt at money laundering. You see him for who he is: flawed but he wants to be a good brother, pensive yet heartbreaking.

‘The Iron Claw’ is a moving film that leaves you with a sad yet cathartic feeling. The film is now available on Lionsgate Play India.

Published by:

Zinia Bandyopadhyay

Published on:

June 15, 2024