Written and directed by David Darg and Price James, actor David Arquette attempts a rocky return to the sport that stalled his promising Hollywood career. Also starring: Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Courteney Cox, Luke Perry, Ric Flair, Dallas Page, Jack Perry, Rj Skinner and Christina McLarty Arquette.
You can tell how open and transparent this documentary plans to be by the fact that it opens on a bunch of YouTube style videos tearing down David Arquette for winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000. It was a stunt that turned the entire world of wrestling against Arquette, a world that he loved and genuinely wanted to be a part of but instead treated him like a joke or even actively hated him. Deciding in his mid-40s, after having a heart attack, to get back into the world which so universally rejected him was a hugely brave choice and one that wasn’t going to be an easy road, as this documentary clearly captures.
Arquette’s dedication to wrestling is extremely impressive, he gets knocked down time and time again, not just physically but psychologically and emotionally, yet he refuses to give up and puts his body, marriage and life on the line to pursue what he’s passionate about. That’s not to say that this is at all your usual inspirational documentary, it has a manic, aggressive and hectic energy, it’s a wild ride that goes down a lot of avenues you definitely won’t expect. He leaves it all out there and doesn’t hold back, he doesn’t try to prove that he’s perfect or the best actor in the world, he readily admits that he’s flawed and lets the film peak behind the curtain at his physical and mental health with a surprising honesty. It’s almost embarrassingly open at times but that’s why it works, it doesn’t try to make an underdog does good story, there’s ups and downs, triumphs and failures but he works his ass off for all of it.
It’s also surprisingly well shot, a lot of it is handheld and has a very in the moment type feel to it but mixed in with that is some great picturesque footage which gives the film a very worldly feel. The cinematography really makes the most of all it, and taps into that crazed energy, pushing its very intimate and personable tone. There’s also a great variety to the footage used, taking place over a couple of years, interlacing interviews from people both close to Arquette and people with a huge disdain for him, as well as media clips and less than flattering moments. There’s almost a surreal quality to it which entirely befits the wrestling world that it’s exploring but at the same time it’s very raw and real.
You Cannot Kill David Arquette is a bare-knuckle brawl with career frustrations, midlife crises, rejection and reclaiming passions, there is a lot to learn about the actor you may just think of as Dewey from Scream. It’s manic and strange at times but ultimately it pays sincere tribute to Arquette’s dedication to wrestling in its own unique way. It’s an unusual documentary but it’s honest, open, raw and full of passion.