I thought the BE Community might get a kick out of this. SlashFilm, or /Film as it were, just put of their review of the Matt Hamill biopic that ran at the recent installment of the AFI Fest in Hollywood, California. The review seems to be pretty positive.
While Pulsar was impossible to figure out, Hamill is exactly the opposite. It’s a unique spin on the classic, tried and true sports formula of one person trumping over the competition. What sets this film apart though is not only that it’s true, it’s about a deaf person who became a UFC superstar.
Matt Hamill was born deaf in rural Ohio. Even though Matt couldn’t hear, his stubborn but loving grandfather made sure he was never treated differently, even when he probably should have been. So to help mask much of his social frustrations, Matt developed an aptitude for wrestling which eventually lead him to heights that would be incredible for someone with all five senses, let alone one missing.
Made by a slew of first time feature filmmakers, including director Oren Kaplan and writers Eben Kostbar and Joseph McKelheer, Hamill does feel a little rough around the edges. It drags a bit in the middle and the inevitable climax doesn’t pop as much as you’d expect, but those are just two minor gripes in an otherwise solid package. One really interesting thing the film does is vary the use of subtitles. Since the film stars a mostly deaf cast, and will presumably be marketed to deaf people, the whole thing needed to be subtitled in the first place. Then, large sections of the film are just in sign language, so people who can hear need subtitles for that. Finally, there are scenes where the subtitles are missing words (which is sort of ____ like ____), confusing the audience as if they too were deaf. Add that to some superior sound design and the film does an admirable job of making the audience sympathize with Hamill’s situation on a physical level as well as an emotional one.
A lot of that connection also has to do with the lead performance by Russell Harvard, who played the adult version of H.W. Plainview in There Will Be Blood. He’s simply perfect in the role. A deaf actor himself, he’s a physical presence while also being very sympathetic and relatable. He’s the glue in a film that’s provides a unique take on a familiar story and manages to simultaneously inspire and entertain.
Pic via bitcast-a-sm.bitgravity.com
Review via /Film