American Wrestler: The Wizard (2016)
Casst: George Kosturos, William Fichtner, Ali Afshar
Director: Alex Ranarivelo
Rated PG-13 for violence and thematic material
American Wrestler is not another sports movie based on the underdog going on to win a championship. It is a true story of Ali Jahani a teenage boy who escapes from his country during the Iranian revolution. He settles down in USA in a hostile environment where racism against Iranians is at an all time high due to the American hostage crisis in Iran.
He lives with his uncle who is agnostic towards him. Finding it difficult to fit into his new school, he tries his hand at wrestling, one of the school sports. How Ali overcomes the hate and prejudice and wins over the heart of the residents in his town forms the crux of the story.
So why watch this movie? The performance of George Kosturos who play Ali is very strong in succesfully portraying the different emotions the lead character feels as he’s making his way through. Ali Afshar who plays the lead character’s uncle outshines everybody else in the film. You will hate him, you will love him and you will simply be awestruck with shades of his mercurial personality. The essence of the movie shines through a very strong and engaging script.
The movie has a great 80’s vibe going for it. The clothing, styling, cinematography and music make the movie look like a classic 80’s film. The truly spectacular parts of the film are the wrestling scenes. Boy, you would never to want to wrestle in life after seeing the close up shots in some of the scenes.
You can’t cast your eyes away from the wrestling holds, moves and escapes. Wrestling is an extremely brutal body contact sport which requires a lot of strength and energy. George Kosturos who had no experience in wrestling before this film has done a wonderful job as he learned and performed all the stunts on his own.
Although the film runs the risk of being a little formulaic, yet it can’t be denied that for a budget indie film, it hits all the right notes. It is successful in narrating a touching and inspirational “feel good” sports story which shows that tenacity and strength of character can win over any adversity. My rating for this movie is a solid 6 out of 10.
You can also check out my reviews and recommendations of other films in the Movies page.