There have been a lot of very good wrestling documentaries — Beyond the MatHitman Hart: Wrestling With ShadowsThe Resurrection of Jake the Snake, Netflix’s recent series Wrestlers — but fictional wrestling movies have often been much harder to pull off. There’s The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke, certainly, and I do like the 1981 Robert Aldrich comedy ...All the Marbles, which is a very quirky film about the world of women’s wrestling. But by and large it is a genre that has produced a lot of misfires or oddities — many of which pretend that wrestling a legitimate athletic competition, which inevitably leads down some very bizarre narrative paths.

That is a long-winded way of getting to my point: The world of wrestling is a fascinating one that has rarely been explored, at least with any authenticity or depth, in a movie. I am hoping that will change this year with The Iron Claw, a dramatization of one of the most interesting (and, frankly, tragic) real-life wrestling sagas in history. It is about the Von Erich family, a multigenerational dynasty of wrestlers that were the stars of a local territory in Texas for decades. The younger generation of Von Erichs are played in the film by Zac Efron, The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, and Stanley Simons.

The film is directed by Sean Durkin, who made the outstanding Martha Marcy May Marlene back in 2011. Check out The Iron Claw trailer below:

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I don’t want to give too much away about the Von Erichs if you are not familiar with their lives but ... if you’re interested in that trailer, I would prepare yourself for a movie that will not really be an uplifting, feel-good underdog sports story.

It looks great though. Here is the film’s official synopsis:

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.

Here is the official poster for the film as well.

A24
A24
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The Iron Claw is scheduled to open in theaters on December 22.

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