Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Lobo The Independent Voice of UNM since 1895
Latest Issue
Read our print edition on Issuu
Iron Claw.jpg

The Von Erich Brothers in "Iron Claw." Image courtesy of IMBD

Review: The Iron Claw might be the feel-bad movie of the year, but it’s worth the heartache

 In a cinematic climate that celebrates biopics as the few films that can reach commercial success, it is refreshing to see a biopic produced with passion and good intentions toward the subjects in question.

“The Iron Claw” follows the Von Erich family – a clan of wrestlers rumored to have been “cursed" due to their history of tragic happenings. As a long-time wrestling fan, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear that A24 planned to produce this film, and it was worth the wait.

Wrestling has often been a topic of great divide and was touched on in the film itself. Pam (Lily James) questions Kevin (Zac Efron) about the reality of the sport, making the film’s dramatic and intimate tone even more refreshing and effective. “The Iron Claw” presents the great successes and terrible tragedies that surrounded the family through Kevin’s perspective.

Writer and director Sean Durkin remained mostly faithful to the brothers' stories. However, Durkin did alter the stories to be “less tragic” to ensure the movie could be completed, according to a review from the Los Angeles Times. Although I am saddened to know that the story of Chris Von Erich – the brother whose story was cut from the script – was not told in “The Iron Claw,” I do agree that another death would have made the film too tragic and may have even eliminated its rewatchability altogether.

While those familiar with the Von Erichs likely knew what the film would entail, casual movie-goers may be shocked to watch a virtually untouchable, incredibly powerful family fall apart on screen. However, these tragedies were handled tastefully and artistically.

The audience feels Kevin’s grief and pain as well as his dedicated resilience. The film’s two-hour runtime never feels dragged out or bloated; it allows the characters to be properly introduced and explored, and provides plenty of opportunities for creative and brilliant cinematographer, Mátyás Erdély, to shine.

Efron, though sometimes falling a bit short of the dramatic prowess required to fully envelop the audience in realistic grief, mostly provides a great portrayal of Kevin.

Efron and his co-stars – Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, among many others – adopted incredible physiques reminiscent of the classic image of a professional wrestler. Each brother is given plenty of room to cement themselves as individuals; their performances take a dramatic turn away from loving and energetic brothers around the halfway point as things begin to look bleak for the family. Their relationships are rich and believable, the costume design is perfectly exaggerated and the sets invoke the smoky, gritty image of the era.

“The Iron Claw” also features an incredible soundtrack, using artists such as Rush and Blue Öyster Cult to tie together a gorgeous picture of 1970s-1980s American wrestling. The film uses cyclical and call-back writing to tighten its broad coverage, creating a familiar and intimate feel for the family and their story.

“The Iron Claw’s” strength lies in its visuals, its dedicated actors and its well-rounded production. Although there are elements that could have been sharpened or polished, it is definitely worth the watch for wrestling and film fans alike.

Sadie Hopkins is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at

Enjoy what you're reading?
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Lobo