|Chris "Wonder" Schoeck confronts his foe|
This is the story of Chris "Wonder" Schoeck, a 43 year old man who is training to become a classical side show strong man. His trainer and friend is Chris Rider, an established strong man who brings Schoeck into the fraternity of strong men performers and sets up a special performance in Coney Island for Schoeck and other practictioners to show off a dying art.
About five minutes into Bending Steel I was certain that this was going to be a good little film, but I knew that somewhere along the line watching Chris "Wonder" Schoeck bend metal was going to get tiresome. Then the people in the film began to engage me, and while I was enjoying it I still wasn't in love with the film. And then there is this conversation about Chris and drinking and the whole film flipped in front of me and everything I was watching suddenly made beautiful perfect sense.The film stopped being about this guy bending metal but instead was about Chris and his reconnecting to life.
A marvelous feel good film that seems, for a while to be about an esoteric subject, but in retrospect is simply the story of one man trying to find his place in the world. This is a genuine feel good film that gets better and better as it goes on as it reveals itself and it's characters to you. It's the sort of story that you couldn't make up because no one would believe it.
While the film is really about the characters the film also has a wonderful sense of New York City and Long Island. While this is a minor portion of the film, the sequences with Chris in transit either in New York City or out to his parents in either Douglaston or Little Neck is beautifully done. It may not seem like much, and be fleeting, but you actually get a sense of the location where things are happening. I know since I've been to almost all of the places. Its this sense of being grounded in real places that adds to weight of everything, yes these are real people because these are real places.
By the time the film ends you'll want to cheer.
A must see film.