You Cannot Kill David Arquette Review
2020 has been a bizarre, unexpected year in many ways. Many of us have become accustomed to expecting the unexpected in this bonkers, rather depressing past 12 months. However, the one thing this writer never expected was to have a hearty cry at the end of a documentary about wresting and David Arquette, but here we are.
You Cannot Kill David Arquette documents the actor’s return to wrestling, a whopping 18 years after he “won” the World Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, much to the chagrin of wrestling fans everywhere. Arquette, a genuine wrestling fan and a passionate amateur, is seen training and fighting, attempting to retain some sort of dignity while the entire world seems to be against his return to the sport he so loves. But as the title reveals, you can’t get rid of him that easily.
From its opening moments, You Cannot Kill David Arquette is hilariously self-aware - it fully utilises Arquette’s personal reputation as a goofball as well as wrestling’s highly scripted, theatrical nature. The film occasionally seems a little too manipulative and while Arquette shows incredible ability to laugh at himself, its portrayal of the actor slips into pity at times, making it an uncomfortable watch.
Directed by David Darg and Price James, the documentary is a treat for not only wrestling fans, but film fans too. It accurately and honestly shows Arquette’s struggles in both Hollywood and in the wrestling world, painting him both as a passionate fan and a failed professional. While You Cannot Kill David Arquette is downright hilarious and hugely entertaining, there’s a tragic heart beating at its core.
Arquette is refreshingly weird and honest here. There’s a lot of pain present in the documentary, both physical and emotiona - it’s essentially a portrayal of a man trying to prove himself, mostly to himself rather than others. Arquette is also open about his struggles with mental health as well as his other health issues, including a heart attack and the various injuries he suffers during the matches. Without spoiling the most dramatic injury to those not familiar with Arquette’s wrestling career, things get real very, very quickly and the documentary goes from funny to shocking in a matter of minutes.
But the most hard-hitting stuff here is the everything relating to Arquette seeking, and often failing to find, validation. He trains hard – his physical transformation is a marvel to see – and attends fights with barely anyone present, and in the bigger fights he is booed loudly. He’s a good sport, but occasionally, the façade cracks and you can see the outright fatigue and uncertainty on his face.
As with some documentaries, You Cannot Kill David Arquette is a manipulative one. It’s scripted quite heavily and some scenes come across as fake and insincere, but ultimately the film holds a mightily emotional gut punch. Its themes are resonant and universal - we’ve all felt defeated and laughed at, but Arquette demonstrates such resilience it’s difficult not to cheer him on. In a world where most documentaries focus on the sad and traumatic, this is somewhat of a feel-good documentary, one that leaves a good taste in your mouth. You may shed a few tears like I did, from sheer compassion and admiration for Arquette’s showmanship, but you will most certainly be entertained.
You Cannot Kill David Arquette is available on digital download from November 23 in the UK.