This is a twisted vision of the American Dream. Successful pro-wrestler Fritz Von Erich raised four boys to follow him into the ring. Eldest siblings Kevin and Kerry, played by Zak Efron and Jeremy Allen White, are naturals. Harris Dickinson’s David takes proceedings less seriously. And Stanley Simons’ Mike doesn’t even want to fight. But no one dares disobey their ruthlessly driven, politically conservative father. And no matter how tough their challengers are in the ring, thanks to Fritz’s maniacal competitive zeal – driven, it’s implied, by a family tragedy – they all know that their most ferocious opponents are each other.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) director Sean Durkin’s drama impresses in its texture and subtle cultural commentary. Late 1970s and early 1980s Texas is captured with an eerie level of authenticity, while the wrestling scene is portrayed as a world of aspirational qualities – it was in this sporting arena, after all, that Donald Trump would later shore up support for his cult-like following. The Iron Claw ultimately excels because of the commitment of its cast. None more so than Efron, who went through an extraordinary physical transformation, but who also invests his character with a credibility that impresses.
– Ian Haydn Smith