review of "The Hammer"


Published on review of "The Hammer", a film inspired by the life of deaf UFC fighter, Matt Hamill. "The Hammer" tells the story of what it takes to be a champion, on and off the mat.

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  2. 2. Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic « 7/24/11 5:46 PM GET MORE UPDATES RSS Subscribe to our daily email newsletter: Provide Your Email Here You can also find us on : @firstshowing · 18.1K followers For news updates only, follow this: @FSnewsfeed · 1,473 followers MOST COMMENTED » Sound Off: Michael Bays Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Thoughts? (181 Comments) » Sound Off: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Thoughts? (171 Comments) » Watch: First Teaser Trailer for Chris Nolans The Dark Knight Rises! (140 Comments) » Must Watch: Incredible The Amazing Spider-Man Trailer Hits Early! (126 Comments) » Watch: First Full Trailer for Universals The Thing Prequel Emerges (124 Comments) » Must Watch: Fantastic Trailer for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (120 Comments) Click to Expand More (From Past 30 Days) WHAT DID YOU THINK? » Marvels Captain America (Released July 22nd) » WBs Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Released July 15th) » Michael Bays Transformers 3 (Released Jun 29th) » Disney/Pixars Cars 2 (Released June 24th) » Warner Bros Green Lantern (Released June 17th) » J.J. Abrams Sci-Fi Super 8 (Released June 10th) LATEST PODCAST EP Page 2 of 7
  3. 3. Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic « 7/24/11 5:46 PM RSS #70: The Road to The Avengers / July 20 Guest: Writer John Gholson on Facebook Like 6,292 people like Frank Jonathan Tara Steven Roosevelt Kortney F Jason Allison Blake Ryan Ripunjoy Garrett José Jeremy Frank Facebook social plugin Page 3 of 7
  4. 4. Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic « 7/24/11 5:46 PM Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic February 25, 2011 by Jeremy Kirk Page 4 of 7
  5. 5. Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic « 7/24/11 5:46 PM Inspiration is the gift Matt Hamill has had fighting alongside him since birth. Born deaf, Hamill has risen to great success in the world of mixed martial arts, achieving heights few thought possible in UFC rankings. Before that, though, he became a three-time NCAA champion in amateur wrestling while attending RIT in Rochester. This is the story told in Oren Kaplans film. Simply entitled Hamill, it tells the powerful and invigorating story of young Matt Hamills struggles with his disability and the people in his life who have kept him motivated to overcome this major obstacle. Hamill is a film that emboldens its audience, often in inventive and novel ways, and it never allows itself to fall into the misguided trappings such biopics tend to incorporate. At the heart of Kaplans film, screenplay written by Joseph McKelheer and Eben Kostbar, is the relationship Hamill had with his grandfather, Stanley. The two roles are filled by incredibly strong performances by actors Russell Harvard and Raymond J. Barry, respectively, and the connection between the two is a backbone the rest of the film is able to build itself around. Stanley doesnt coddle Matt. He doesnt see Matts disability as a means to feel sorry for the boy, and he instills in Matt a sensibility to be the absolute best you can be regardless of the hands you are dealt in life. Harvard and Barry have a genuine connection in the film. The solidity with which they act against each other allows the audience to become enraptured in Stanleys teachings, to feel the power of what Matt is attempting to achieve. This comes both from Barrys veteran and fantastic stature in the film-making world as well as Harvards embodiment of the character at hand. Harvard, like Hamill, was born deaf, but its more than just a first-hand understanding he brings to the character. He brings a wonderful veracity to Matt Hamill as a character. As easily hackneyed or cliched as the grandfather relationship could be conveyed, McKelheer, Kostbar and Kaplan never allow it to follow that path. Theres an honesty at play in Hamill and in the characters that inhabit it. Theres a real sense of triumph when Matt attains success, even the slightest bit whether it comes in the form of winning matches or winning the heart of a fellow RIT student, Kristi, played with force by Shoshannah Stern. You want Hamill to find this success, but not out of pity, never out of pity. You want him to win out of the grace and humility that has been sown into him through his grandfather. When he does indeed win, your heart cant help but find itself being lifted. This isnt to say Hamill is sappy or a nonstop climb upward to inevitable wins. There are peaks and valleys in the life of Matt Hamill, some of which were brought on by the individual himself. Even with his grandfathers guidance, Hamill becomes frustrated at times, loses himself in mulish behavior that results in periodic setbacks both minor and major. Stanley, Kristi, and the others in his life - Jay, a rather militant roommate who is just as much flash as he is felicity, played by Michael Anthony Spady; and Ron Gross, Hamills college coach, played with explosive ardor by McKelheer himself - bounce Hamill back into reality. They dont allow the young man to feel sorry for himself, nor do they repress disappointment in him when such a feeling arises. All the while, Kaplan directs Hamill with nuance and impeccable style, giving us a depiction of the life of a Page 5 of 7
  6. 6. Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic « 7/24/11 5:46 PM deaf person just as much as the life of a fighter struggling with all the deterrents that come from that. One thing Kaplan includes in Hamill that is a stroke of genius is the notion of including subtitles throughout the film. It both aids in the audiences ability to enter this world that is alien to many of us and conveys unique messages to its audience in a very novel and effective way. Hamill is a film that takes an appropriate stand for the real individual, a strong and highly inspirational work of fact told in the freshest and impactful of ways. Biopics are easy territory to stamp over familiar ground with, to trek down the same road so many have done before. Its always encouraging to see one take such a unaccustomed approach to depict its subject matter, but to do so in equally powerful, poignant, and uplifting ways is what makes Hamill the film as much a triumph as Hamill the man. For more information on the film, visit their website: Hamill is currently playing in various film festivals. Jeremys Rating: 9 out of 10 retweet 11 Share Like 120 Send You might like: First Look: Must Watch: Fantastic Must Watch: Even More Photos: Shockwaves New Official Trailer for Incredible The Martin Sheen, Rhys Transformers: Dark Gavin OConnors Amazing Spider-Man Ifans in Amazing of the Moon Banner Warrior Trailer Hits Early! Spider-Man [?] Article filed under: Opinions, Reviews Showing 4 comments Sort by oldest first Chad Two wrestling movies coming out in one year!? Wow. 02/25/2011 07:21 AM Like Reply peloquin Page 6 of 7
  7. 7. Review: Oren Kaplans Hamill is a Novel and Inspirational Biopic « 7/24/11 5:46 PM Definitely looking forward to this as an RIT alumni in Film and Animation. 02/25/2011 07:38 AM 1 Like Like Reply ZzFDKzZ Nice cant wait. 02/25/2011 07:47 PM 1 Like Like Reply McWilly Holy crap Ive been watchin him fight forever...he has a huge fight coming up against Quinton Rampage Jackson. I cant wait to see this! 02/25/2011 08:26 PM 1 Like Like Reply M Subscribe by email S RSS Real-time updating is enabled. (Pause) Add New Comment Login Want email updates? Subscribe to our daily newsletter via email: Provide Your Email Privacy Policy • All Rights Reserved. ©2006-2011 First Showing LLC Page 7 of 7