YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE -- A Compelling Blend of Underdog and Comeback Tropes
Review by Sean Boelman
Actor David Arquette is known to have just as eccentric an off-screen persona as many of the characters he portrayed on screen, the most bizarre part of his career likely being his stint in professional wrestling. Blending the best elements of underdog and comeback stories, the new documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette is both very entertaining and super touching.
The film follows Arquette as he attempts to make a comeback in the sport that did not welcome him in his first attempt, him having been labeled at one time as the “most hated man in wrestling”. And even though his initial attempt to enter the arena may have been inspired by a publicity stunt, his love for the sport is obvious and infectious.
Directors David Darg and Price James do an excellent job of developing Arquette in a way that is relatable and extremely sympathetic. Although wrestling fans still may not be too fond of him because of the mockery that was his initial bid, there’s something undeniably likeable about Arquette’s personality and dedication.
Like any underdog story, the main message here is one of perseverance. Despite criticism and naysayers, Arquette remains committed to his goals and does everything within his abilities to accomplish them. However, there’s an added layer of redemption here, as Arquette sets out to prove those who think he doesn’t belong in wrestling to be wrong.
That said, anyone who is familiar with Arquette’s backstory will know the medical issues he has faced over his life, and this gives the movie a strong emotional grounding. Arquette feels himself torn between his obligation to himself and his family and his desire to correct and amend his past mistakes, hoping to leave a positive mark on sports history, not a negative one.
It’s a very charming documentary in many ways, even if one isn’t a particular fan of wrestling. There are plenty of unique sequences in the film that are sure to be memorable, like Arquette’s brief foray in Mexican street wrestling, but the mostly jovial nature of the movie goes a long way in making it very entertaining.
Darg and James shoot the film in a way that is very cinematic. There are some interviews with figures who are famous in wrestling and some who were involved in Arquette’s life, but the more compelling aspect of the movie is the often unfiltered access that the filmmakers had to follow Arquette on his journey.
You Cannot Kill David Arquette is an excellent watch, both for fans of the actor and fans of wrestling. Funny and endearing, it’s a wonderfully-made documentary that will certainly connect with viewers in unexpected ways.
You Cannot Kill David Arquette hits VOD on August 28.
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