: The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Through tragedy and triumph, under the shadow of their domineering father and coach, the brothers seek larger-than-life immortality on the biggest stage in sports.


Zac Efron has come a long way since his teeny idol days in the hugely popular High School Musical series. In recent years, he has been trying to transit to more dramatic roles such as the little seen Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Indeed, it takes time and some luck for an acclaimed script, just ask Leonardo DiCaprio.

Then comes The Iron Claw, a biographical sports drama film written and directed by Sean Durkin about the professional wrestling America family, the Von Erichs.

Efron plays Kevin, the second oldest of the Von Erich brothers. Together with David (Harris Dickinson), Kevin wrestles for the World Class Championship Wrestling company (WCCW) owned by their domineering father, Fritz (Holt McCallany), a retired professional wrestler. The other two brothers, Kerry (Jeremy Allen White) is a discus thrower and Mike (Stanley Simons), a talented musician.

The Von Erichs especially Kevin believes their family is “cursed”. But the family’s patriarch toxic masculinity believes otherwise. As the movie slowly progresses, we get to learn about the siblings premature deaths- tragic, severely dark and emotional. Strong traits The Iron Claw surprisingly show.

Despite that, Durkin did made some changes to the details on the deaths of the Von Erich siblings, still it doesn’t take away the fact that suicide is not something even a close family member can comprehend or forget. The character of Kevin faces the impossible reality that all his siblings have suffered the same fate of dying young. Tragedy or misfortune? It’s a tough pill to swallow for Kevin and the audiences.

Though set in the world of wrestling, the irony of The Iron Claw is that it’s more of a human drama than a sports movie. It really doesn’t matter if the movie portrays wrestling as a sports or a calculated affair between the wrestlers. Deep down it’s a heartbreaking movie about the Von Erichs and also an authentic display of in-ring fight choreography.

Efron is clearly the star here, putting in a solid, believable performance as the tortured Von Erich brother. Kevin Von Erich is the role Efron is born to play and not just merely a showing of his well-toned biceps. The rest of the supporting cast liked Jeremy Allen White, Lily James playing Mrs Kevin Von Erich and Holt McCallany delivered dramatic gravitas as well.

For fans and non-fans of wrestling alike, The Iron Claw is a mesmerising tale from start to finish. It’s not perfect but definitely contains more heart than muscles.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Drama/Biography
Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Stanley Simons, Holt McCallany, Lily James
Director: Sean Durkin
Year Made: 2023



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 2 hrs 12 mins