WELCOME TO CULTURE CRASH, WHERE WE EXAMINE WHAT’S NEW AND OLD IN ENTERTAINMENT.
Jeremy Allen White has been surging in popularity thanks to his role as Carmy in The Bear and Zac Efron has been famous since he was a kid.. Yet somehow, The Iron Claw, a movie starring both of them, along with Lily James, Maura Tierny, Harris Dickinson, and Holt McCallany, has managed to fly under the radar for a lot of people.
The film, from director Sean Durkin, tells the real-life story of the Von Erich family, a family of professional wrestlers who some believe to be cursed. Though their story is tragic, Durkin and his cast first manage to infuse their story with so much humanity and moments of true familial love and a lot of fun. But then the tragedy kicks in, and that’s when Efron’s performance in particular really begins to soar. Originally a Disney kid who starred in the High School Musical movies, Efron has been famous for a long time and he’s starred in a lot of movies, but never before has he flexed his dramatic acting muscles quite this hard. And all of his other muscles are absolutely bursting at the seams in this movie, too.
In exploring the world of wrestling and a group of siblings ruled by their hard-driving father to be perfect physical specimens, The Iron Claw manages to be a movie that pointedly indicts the toxic masculinity of many in the fighting community, as well as the unbearable pressure of expecting perfection in any endeavor in life. Delivered with a lot of humanity and grace, Durkin’s The Iron Claw manages to become a late entry in the list of great films from 2023. In fact, the National Board of Review named The Iron Claw to its list of the 10 best movies of the year. Regardless of how many awards the movie wins or doesn’t win, The Iron Claw is well worth its runtime… just don’t forget to bring some tissues.