Strongman (Zachary Levy, 2009)

Part The Wrestler, part Anvil: The Story of Anvil, Zachary Levy’s feature functions as a sometimes sad, sometimes funny, yet fully competent documentary. The film follows strong man Stanly Pleskun, aka Stanless Steel. In his fifties, Stanless Steel still clings to dreams of grandeur – he claims to be the best in the world at bending things and desperately wants the world to know it. He bends pennies, lifts trucks off the ground, and can lift a cage full of people with his finger. But his significance in his profession is waning, as he contends with a strenuous work life, a tumultuous family, and a girlfriend who is tired of putting up with his act.

The storytelling is competent, with Levy never lingering on one specific moment for too long. Stanley Pleskun is a perfectly agreeable guy, whose sense of right and wrong are clouded by his aspirations. While he may mistreat his girlfriend, the sense that he cares for her is evident through his body language and desire to succeed for her (and obviously, himself). He’s also a bit of a doofus, which makes for some pretty funny moments. Nonetheless, Strongman is a perfectly adequate, if unremarkable, film that does an effective job of presenting its case study as a three-dimensional personality.