April 22, 2024

THE IRON CLAW (2024) – Zac Efron shines above the movie in this tragic true story


Rating: ⭐⭐

Hollywood true stories so often has stories that are more unimaginable than fiction. In The Iron Claw, we have the incredible story of a family of professional wrestlers, Von Erich family. This family was famous because the head of the family, Fritz and four of his sons were formidable wrestlers. What makes their story remarkable is the tragedy that they had to endure over and over again through their journey to becoming world champions in the wrestling arena. I will not reveal the tragic events as I do not wish to give any spoilers but suffice to say that it is at times beyond belief. The relentless tragedy that happens fed into the coined reference of “The Von Erich Curse”.

While there is no denying that the Von Erich family story is fascinating somehow the film to do it justice. Even though the overall production values and performances were good, the film did not come across as gripping and as involving as it could have been. Apart from Zac Efron’s character of the second eldest son, Kevin, the rest of the family members characters were not given enough depth for us to empathize with. The roles of the women characters in particular were rather superficially represented. Even though the story revolves around the world of professional wrestling, very little insight is shared in this sport. It is a common knowledge that the fights on the ring are staged and rehearsed and while this was acknowledge indirectly in the film, we are not given much idea on how the system works to determine who wins or loses, and who gets to be crowned the champion.

The real Von Erich family vs Hollywood’s version

While I felt disappointed in how underwhelming the movie turned out, I am nevertheless in awe of the underlying overwhelming story that it had to tell. Zac Efron was the incredible here as he not only transformed himself to look the part but gave a very subtle and powerful performance. I feel he succeeded in projecting some of the story’s key themes of loyalty, brotherly love, sacrifice, and dealing with loss. He is one underrated actor who has the potential to be in the top of the game.

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