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Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows

1 rating: 3.0
A movie

Take an unflinching look behind the scenes of the WWF, thorough the eyes of Hitman Hart. Go beyond the theatrics of pro wrestling into the double crossing world of deal making and big business.

Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows

Riveting for fans and non-fans alike

  • Oct 18, 2000
Rating:
+3
Pros: Interesting, Heart-Felt, Intense

Cons: One side of a controversial story recounted

I work in the wrestling business and, in fact, worked with Bret while I was the Editor of WCW Magazine. I obviously knew of the situation that this documentary revolves around, but was not expecting the film to be anything more than the usual "packaged" video which is common in wrestling these days.

I got a copy of the video before its release and wasn't looking forward to watching it, frankly. However, once I was about 10 minutes into it, I was riveted. I became absorbed in Hart's straight forward style, the behind the scenes footage, and the whole story unfolding before my eyes.

Many non-fans would not give this video a second look but if they did, they would see another side of pro wrestling, an amazingly brutal and political side which is rarely revealed with such intensity.

The jury remains out on all the facts, but no matter, Hart's storytelling and his invitation into his world, his home, and his mind is amazingly interesting.

Bret Hart is a wrestling icon, there is no denying that, but he is also a very serious and sensitive man who tells his story from his heart (no pun intended) and with the seeming honesty of a man baring his soul to the world.

The footage backstage is rare and interesting, making you feel as though you are privy to something almost taboo (which the backstage goings on actually are to most).

Fans will see the inner workings of a wrestling promotion and snippets of the wrestlers' lives outside the ring. Non fans will learn a bit about this so called sport, this predetermined athletic entertainment genre which is misunderstood and often seen as a joke.

This video is no joke. It is the story of a man who gave many years of his life to his craft and who, for his own reasons, wanted to leave the federation he worked so hard to help succeed on his own terms. It is a story of deception and anger, emotions and business, all blended together seamlessly.

I was totally taken in by the video and watched it twice more, each time seeing and learning more.

I have seen very few, if any, wrestling based documentaries that even come close to the quality of this one. It doesn't matter if you are a fan of Bret Hart, a fan or wrestling, or even if you don't believe Hart's version of the infamous "screwjob in Montreal," you will come away from viewing the video with a whole new attitude about professional wrestling and the men and women who make the "sport" the multimillion dollar industry it is.

More than just one man's recounting of a wrestling story, this is a fine documentary for everyone who likes to gaze into the lives of those whose lives are shrouded in mystery like those in pro wrestling.

Despite the fact that I work in the business, I still learned much about the inner workings of the sports entertainment industry in which I work.

Highly recommended!

THE PLOT: Bret Hart is a veteran pro wrestler who comes from a family of wrestlers including a strong and tough father who trained several young stars in his basement in Canada. The story recounts Hart's final days in the World Wrestling Federation as he prepares for a big pay per view match with real life rival Shawn Michaels. As the story unfolds, we see a very proud man betrayed by his long time boss and his in ring rival and the ramifications of the betrayal. We also see many glimpses of the inner workings of pro wrestling and see and hear the wrestlers as human beings rather than characters. We watch as Hart torments over his final match and we see the wheels of deception turning as the plot thickens. In the end, we are awakened to the reality of the sometimes brutal and shocking business that is professional wrestling. And we watch a man whom we come to know quite intimately deal with his deepest feelings on film. A rare and special look at human behavior.

Patty



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