Wilbur: The King in the Ring(2017)
A former wrestler's gastric sleeve surgery and subsequent transformation is chronicled in this New Zealand comedic documentary on worldwide obesity. But when the director starts to manipulate and exploit the situation, the whole film is at risk of falling apart. In addition to the session times below, you can request a screening at your local cinema by clicking this link to Demand.Film.
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BY Liam Maguren Flicks Writer
The popular New Zealand short Wilbur Force started as a simple story about obese entertainment wrestler Wilbur McDougall looking to make a comeback. Then (I’m paraphrasing here) Wilbur says, “Fuck this and fuck you,” to the film’s director J. Ollie Lucks when he pokes the bear too much. The feature Wilbur: The King in the Ring isn’t just about Wilbur’s transformation – it’s about his and Ollie’s battle for control in telling this story. And it’s one ruggedly compelling mud fight.... More
Wilbur’s a charming guy with a high-energy personality powered by an embraceable zero-fucks-to-give attitude that feels uniquely Kiwi. He’s a born entertainer who readily admits to being his own worst enemy, so you root for his weight loss and hope he makes a glorious return to the ring where he naturally belongs. This tale alone would make for a basic heart-warming 30-minute straight-to-TV doco.
That’s not enough for his mate Ollie, though. He wants a feature-length Oscar winner with captivating plot turns and heightened emotions, but Wilbur being the straight-up bloke he is calls the director out on his manipulative tactics. “Don’t judge me with your camera movement,” Wilbur semi-jokes as the image wraps around a cup filling with L&P. “This is not as deep as you want it to be,” he blurts out in another instance of Ollie strangling Wilbur’s situation for drops of drama that may or may not be there.
At first, it feels like heated matey banter, but when the third act rolls out, someone does something really shitty that tests the friendship. Thing is, you don’t know if it’s Ollie pulling another manipulative stunt or if Wilbur is in toxic self-denial. This distortion of reality is gripping, constantly making you question everything you’ve just seen until the film’s conclusion. It’s a piledriver of a movie, the kind you force your friends to watch just so you can hear them say “What the hell just happened!?”Hide