Beyond The Mat review

What sort of person wears tights and beats up other people for a living? That's the question life-long wrestling fan and professional screenwriter (he penned most of Eddie Murphy's recent hits) Barry Blaustein sets out to answer in his directorial debut - a documentary that's far more entertaining than most recent cinema releases.

Blaustein takes sympathetic, often funny, and sometimes tragic snapshots of this savage pantomime.

At the centre is the WWF, the $1-billion-licence to print T-shirts, whose grotesquely masked star Mankind is revealed to be Mick Foley, a gentle giant who aspires to be "the politest man in wrestling". In one incredible sequence, he views footage of his wife and children screaming as they watch him being battered and announces that it's the first time he's ever felt like a bad father.

What sort of people beat each other for a living? Normal, decent folk. Who just happen to have more muscular thighs than the rest of us.

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