Whether you know him from the WWE, Howard Stern, YouTube, or Twitter, chances are you’ve got a special place in your heart for the Iron Sheik. He was one of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived and a star with a tragic fall from grace. This new documentary covers it all, starting with a look at his glorious past stretching from Olympic glory to 80s superstardom and following him through his tragic fallow years all the way to his current internet infamy. It’s a fascinating and wonderfully entertaining story that director Igal Hecht compiles with just the right mix of reverence and humor.
Sheik is primarily an almost inadvertent comedy figure these days and director Igal Hecht delights in letting folks like The Rock and Jake “The Snake” Roberts tell hilarious stories about their time with the legend, as well as showing off many of his silliest rants. However, Hecht thankfully never makes his movie a mockery or a freak show. He never loses sight of the man behind the camel clutch and his depiction of the former star’s descent into failure and years of drug addiction can be deeply moving. It’s easily one of the best films ever made about professional wrestling and the larger than life figures therein. It doesn’t matter if you come to the movie from the mindset of a nostalgic child or irony-loving Jabroni, The Sheik will make you humble. (Phil Brown)
Saturday, April 26, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 9:15pm
Sunday, April 27, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 4:30pm
Saturday, May 3, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 6:30pm