The Iron Claw

The plight of man and the burden of dreams - 7/10

by Jad Sammour

Watched on January 4, 2024 - double feature with Ferrari.

The Iron Claw is a riveting sports drama that chronicles the life of the Von Erich wrestling family. It tells the story from the perspective of Kevin Von Erich. To put it bluntly, the film bored me. It was hard to get through which pained me because it is a beautiful film that tackles the obsession with dreams, masculinity, duty, brotherhood, and family in a profound and touching way. Before watching the film, I was not familiar with the Von Erichs and by the end of the film, I got a very good picture at who they were beyond the biographical facts. The Iron Claw combines exquisite filmmaking to tell its story, utilizing camera, music, montage, and editing at every opportunity to effectively narrate the story and express the mental state of the characters. Cut-aways before triumphs, slow and expressionists dissolves, stunning compositions, engaging wrestling scenes, and tense drumming music are some of the techniques used to effectively transport you into the shoes of the characters and contextualize the events. This is supported by a calculated screenplay with good dialogue delivered by a talented cast that hits the nail on the head in every line delivery, not to mention the physical demands of the roles. The main actors had chemistry together, making you feel that they are one family. Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson, and Holt McCallany were the highlights for me, with Jeremy Allen White and Stanley Simmons next. One notable thing is that the female characters felt slightly underdeveloped, especially Lily James’ character. The Iron Claw takes you by surprise and has many shocking moments that feel like a punch in the gut, in fact by the time the film was over I was left shaken and silent. I have 0 complaints about it other than the pacing which was slow, and look I like Tarkovsky whose films are slow but their slowness is different, deliberate, meditational, while in The Iron Claw I was constantly checking the time; not sure why. Regardless, I highly recommend the film if you love biographies, and especially if you love wrestling

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