The Iron Claw Review

Friday 9 February 2024

Plot: The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s.

Film: The Iron Claw

Director: Sean Durkin

Writer: Sean Durkin

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Stanley Simons

The award for biggest snub of awards season goes to…

The Iron Claw is truly Zac Efron at his best. Despite having acted in a number of dramas over the years, it’s likely you’ll still associate Efron with comedies and musicals; this role and the acting talent he displays while portraying Kevin Von Erich will have you forgetting that this isn’t the kind of gritty performance he’s been giving his whole life. Efron embodies Kevin’s imposing physique, sculpted through years of rigorous training enforced by his embittered father (played by Holt McCallany), a former wrestler seeking dominance in an industry that consumed him.

Kevin’s brothers, for whom he feels responsible for, are each grappling with their own burdens. David (played by Harris Dickinson) living firmly in Kevin’s shadow, Kerry (played by Jeremy Allen White) the Olympian unable to compete due to political conflict and Mike (played by Stanely Simons), the brother who would rather pursue music than fight. Together they confront the Von Erich curse which has haunted their family, and unfortunately continues to do so. 

The Iron Claw is foremost a film about family. Writer-director Sean Durkin depicts wrestling as an angsty playground of high-highs and low-lows. As someone who doesn’t know much about the sport; seeing not only the physical side of things but the mental tole the industry can take on a person, it was heart-breaking to watch ambition tear apart the Von Erich family and tole it takes on Kevin who, while eager to prove himself to his father, really wanted nothing more than to spend time with his brothers. Performances from the whole cast are stellar, making the events of the story all the more difficult to watch.

Kevin shoulders the weight of his family’s fate, the emotion that Efron delves into is nothing short of career-defining. The Iron Claw emerges as a profound exploration of duty, grief, and the sport of wrestling, propelled by an outstanding cast and Durkin’s directorial prowess. It stands as a testament to Efron’s evolution and a significant step forward in a career people will be following with greater interest than before.

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