You Cannot Kill David Arquette

****

Reviewed by: Stephanie Brown

You Cannot Kill David Arquette
"Arquette’s personal journey reaffirms that wrestling may be one of the most consistently misunderstood sports in the history of Hollywood and beyond." | Photo: Blue Finch Releasing

It has been an interesting few years for the wrestling world in Hollywood. With the success of Fighting With My Family and the remake of the cult-treasure Glow hitting Netflix for three seasons, we have been immersed into the spectacles and performances that embrace the melodrama of the movies. But, while trying to capture the eccentricity of wrestling’s theatricality, has the very real sport behind the flamboyance been lost in its representations? David Arquette returns to the ring to prove his respect for the sport that his WWC Title win mocked 20 years ago, revealing the blood, sweat and tears behind the glitz, glamour and scripts. Arquette’s personal journey reaffirms that wrestling may be one of the most consistently misunderstood sports in the history of Hollywood and beyond.

The star's return to the wrestling world is far from a smooth ride, he is met with animosity by professional wrestlers and fans due to the taint he left on the belt in 2000. He also anguishes about his own regret over the infamous match that ended his promising Hollywood career, and greatly altered his personal image and brand to an extent that he could not have imagined. We follow Arquette as he transitions into the wrestling world with the help of family, friends, doctors and trainers - most of whom are sceptical of the sincerity of his commitment to the craft.

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David Darg and Price James’ documentary meanders from the heartfelt intensity of Rocky to the sombre personal vulnerabilities that Arquette exposes to the world. Darg and James achieve a poignant equilibrium between the battle scars and emotional wounds that Arquette opens, and capture the catharsis of his reinvention of self. Arquette manages to control the narrative by refusing to conceal the hurdles of addiction and mental illness that have moulded the strength and determination that he carries today and, for once, he has control over his own story, cradling the weight of his failings and obstacles in front of the camera in his own words.

You Cannot Kill David Arquette encapsulates the full scope of the wrestling world - from outdoor makeshift rings, transgressive street performances, deadly underground arenas, to the depth of training and skill required to remain as able-bodied as possible when the match ends. It allows us to see behind the scenes of the community, incorporating the blend of professional character wrestling with the lighthearted chaos of amateur dabbling. Darg, James and Arquette’s creation certainly brings out the complexity of the multi-layered community, making wrestling’s enigmatic presence easier to digest and appreciate.

It may well be possible to kill David Arquette, and from an inside look into the hardships of professional wrestling, it’s easy to imagine. But, he has certainly made it much harder to tarnish his new-found legacy, and Hollywood may be the one that needs to answer for its dismissal of wrestling’s inherent skill and artistry, now that their superficial depiction of the sport has been shattered.

The film is available on digital download from November 23

Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2020
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You Cannot Kill David Arquette packshot
Actor David Arquette attempts a rocky return to the sport that stalled his promising Hollywood career.

Director: David Darg, Price James

Writer: David Darg, Price James

Starring: David Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Courteney Cox, Ric Flair

Year: 2020

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

Festivals:

Fantasia 2020

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