MOVIES BY THE SLICE — “The Iron Claw” delivers compelling showcase

Published 12:02 am Thursday, December 28, 2023

Writer/director Sean Durkin delivers a gripping portrayal of the legendary Texas Von Erich family, showcasing the tumultuous journey of the four brothers and their driven father within the world of professional wrestling.

The film delves into the haunting “Von Erich curse” that plagued the family from early on, weaving a narrative that is captivating and tragic.

Reflecting on my own memories, I recall eagerly tuning in to watch the Von Erich brothers in action during my middle school years. Every Saturday, my friend and I would gather at his house, just four blocks away, to enjoy our favorite wrestlers, including the likes of the Junk Yard Dog, Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake, Ric Flair,and, of course, the Von Erichs.

Patrick Bennett

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After the matches, we would head outside to emulate the moves we had witnessed on TV.

Among the brothers, my personal favorite was Kerry, also known as The Texas Tornado. His achievements as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and WWF Intercontinental Champion solidified his status as a wrestling icon.

Whenever Kerry entered the ring, the unmistakable anthem of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” heralded his arrival, sparking excitement in me as a young fan.

I particularly cherished the tag team matches featuring the Von Erich brothers, with their acrobatic prowess and daring maneuvers leaving a lasting impressing, like diving off the top ropes to take someone down or drop kicking someone with both feet as they would fly across the stage defying gravity.

Then there was their father’s trademark move they would use, know as “The Iron Claw.” When one of the Von Erichs would raise their hand in the air to make a claw, the crowd, including myself, would go wild.

Durkin’s film adeptly captures the essence of these thrilling wrestling encounters, making it a must-see for fellow Generation Xers who grew up admiring the Von Erichs’ high-flying performances.

Moreover, wrestling enthusiasts will find the movie a compelling tribute to the sport’s golden era in the ’80s. Even for those unfamiliar with wrestling, the film offers a compelling portrayal of a Texan family’s triumphs and tragedies.

The attention to detail in recreating the ’70s and ’80s is commendable, with the costumes, hairstyles, music and sets authentically capturing the era.

The filmmakers’ choice to imbue the ’70s scenes with a slightly washed-out, oversaturated look and the ’80s scenes with a nostalgic VHS aesthetic adds to the film’s authenticity.

One standout performance is delivered by Zack Efron, who undergoes a remarkable transformation to portray Kevin Von Erich. Efron’s dedication to the role, evident in his physical transformation and nuanced portrayal, is a testament to the commitment of the entire cast and crew.

In conclusion, “The Iron Claw” earns an 8 out of 10 from me for its compelling storytelling, authentic portrayal of wrestling history and strong performances.

The film is showing nationwide and is a must-see for anyone with an interest in wrestling or a penchant for nostalgic storytelling.

Don’t miss the chance to experience this captivating tale on the big screen and share your thoughts on this unforgettable journey.

To reach Patrick Bennett, email bennettvision@gmail.com.