Wherever you stand on professional wrestling, it’s undeniable that this form of entertainment can be brutal on the minds, bodies and lives of its participants. No group of wrestlers illustrate this dynamic more vividly than the Von Erich family (real last name Adkisson).
The Patriarch of the family, Fritz Von Erich was a wrestler with a successful career, but it never reached the heights he thought due. This caused him to over-invest in his children’s lives and forced them to be myopic in seeing their future. This led to self-induced tragedy as well as accidental.
As horrific as the happenings in the film are, they are downplayed and the actual truth is even more sad. This kind of work places large demands on its actors and Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Zac Efron are fully invested. Efron is startling in his transformation and the rest of the cast put in exemplary work.
Equal parts powerful and devastating, The Iron Claw shines a light on the dynamics of parental overreach. In this case, the boys didn’t have a chance. The Von Erich family have been described as professional wrestling royalty but their lives still spun out of control and those events form a cautionary tale of incredible tragedy and sadness.