The movies follow the story of the Von Erichs, a dynasty of wrestlers who greatly impacted the sport of Wrestling from the 1960s to the present day.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
It’s Review Time: 7
Genre: Sports, Thriller, Drama, Biography
Runtime: 132 minutes, 2 hours 12 minutes
Maturity Rating: 15+
Cast & Crew:
Written and Directed by Sean Durkin
Holt McCallany as Fritz Von Erich/Jack Barton Adkinson (played Bill Tench in Mindhunters, must watch)
Maura Tierney as Doris Von Erich
Romeo Miloro Newcomer as Jack Jr.
Zac Efron and Grady Wilson as Kevin Von Erich
Lily James as Pam
Harris Dickinson and Valentine Newcomer as David Von Erich
Jeremy Allen White as Kerry Von Erich (plays Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto in The Bear, must watch)
Stanley Simmons as Mike Von Erich
Kevin Anton as Harley Race
Aaron Dean Eisenberg as Ric Flair
More about the Von Erich Family
We are introduced to the life of Fritz/Jack who is in a wrestling match that he wins. After the match, we see him going out to his family – his wife, Jack Jr. and Kevin and has bought a new trailer for his family. We get to know from there that Jack/Fritz is a family-oriented man who loves the sport of wrestling with all his heart and wants to achieve great heights from it.
From there, we jump straight to his young boys who have grown up and are seeking a career in wrestling like their father. Kevin has already made his debut in the career of wrestling under World Class Championship Wrestling and aims to be a heavyweight champion. The other sons of Jack, David and Mike also aim to follow in the footsteps of their brother Kevin, who is later joined by the 3rd brother Kerry, who was away for his studies at a university.
As we embark on the journey of following the careers of the Von Erich family, we get to witness all the highs and major lows the Von Erich family goes through.
As someone who has barely watched any Wrestling matches, a few WWE matches and not more than that. I was not aware at all about the Von Erich family.
I expected it to be a movie based on wrestling and expected some wrestling fight scenes to be recreated for the movie. But all my expectations came crashing down as the movie progressed.
We start alright with Jack in a wrestling match. But we are soon told that the family has suffered from the death of their oldest child. We are introduced to more and more brothers. But when we get to know that David has passed away due to ruptured intestines on his Heavyweight Championship Tour in Japan, the movie starts to take a harsh turn from there. The curse starts to spread out in the entire family from David to Kerry to Mike to Kevin and back to Kerry.
It was much more of an emotional movie which has a backdrop of wrestling involved in it. And considering the fact that Von Erich’s family is still involved in the sport, it just shows how brave the family has been for half a century.
5 things I liked about The Iron Claw:
- The music from the beginning till the end of the movie keeps the emotions on a high. Whether it were the fight scenes which keep the audience pumped up with adrenaline, or the emotional scenes of loss and tragedy which make sure that the audience gets to connect with the environment that has been created in the movie.
- The creators, directors, production designers, and everyone makes their best effort to create an environment that suits all the years that we see the Von Erich family go through. Whether it was the 1950s with black and white shots, and from there with pixelated videos of all the interviews that are given by the wrestlers.
- The pace of the movie keeps the story moving that was spread out over so many years and for so many characters that were in the movie. Whether it was the story of Jack, Kevin, David, Kerry, or Mike, each and everyone got an opportunity to narrate the story of their life to perfection considering the length of the film.
- The actors, stunt doubles, and creators wonderfully executed the fight scenes that happen in a wrestling match. I have always been sceptical about the fight in WWE or WWF matches, where it always seemed to me like the player is always anticipating the move of their opponent, or it looks rehearsed to me. The same goes for the fight scenes in the movie, it felt the same for me. Fights in UFC and MMA have always been more realistic for me.
- Seeing the pain and loss the family keeps on going through one after another in their life and considering that the family is still involved in the sport makes your heart warm. Seeing David puking blood on Kevin’s wedding and later dying in Japan in his hotel room; Mike getting a shoulder injury, getting into a coma, and committing suicide by overdose; Kerry losing his right foot while he was on the bike; Kevin getting into depression; the family losing money because of the rise of WWE; and later Kerry committing suicide was a rough journey and painful experience to watch.
5 things I disliked about The Iron Claw:
- Although the pace of the movie was really good, the entire movie was filled with filler scenes and long shots of nothingness. If those scenes could have been avoided, the movie could have been much shorter. Yes, I do agree that a director needs to have such scenes when he is building tension or sadness for the audience, but there were many such scenes in the entire movie.
- The entire movie is spread out over a long time and years. But the biggest disappointment I felt was when the makers didn’t provide us with the information about the exact time of year it is. There are many time jumps in the entire movie but the makers don’t ever consider keeping the audience aware of what year it is. There are many such abrupt time jumps you will see across the movie. Even if they would have displayed years at regular intervals could have been really good for the entire experience.
- When Kerry wins the Heavyweight Championship, we are not shown any recreation or even pre-recorded footage of the match. There were so many moments in the entire movie where the brothers go through some historic wins and losses in their careers but the makers leave it to the audience to research those matches.
- The family suffered from one tragic incident to another. There are no recreated incidents, nor do we get to see any news clippings or reports about these famous stars. Instead, after every such incident, an abrupt time jump takes place. I do understand that the movie sticks to the point of view of Kevin Von Erich, but such news clipping or reports could have been shown in the movie.
- The makers or director could have explained the movie in a better way. Yes, the movie sticks to the Von Erich family and their tragedy, but they should have explained much more to us about what was happening in the Von Erich family.