A compelling biographical story atrophied by not up to par film editing.
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Stars: Edgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Ana de Armas, Usher, Ellen Barkin
Text: Jennifer Britt Lundberg Hansen
Roberto Durán (Edgar Ramírez) is a former professional boxer known as Manos de Piedra
(«Hands of Stone»). He is also famously known for abruptly forfeiting a boxing rematch against the great Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher). Hands of Stone (2016) is a biographical film focusing on Durán’s relationship with Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro). He was his trainer and mentor, the one who made Durán into one of the greatest boxers of all time. We get glimpses of each of their lives, presented in a very all-over-the-place fashion. There are time jumps which may confuse you. There is also a random scene in black and white, which I felt should have had a greater impact. However, the acting is superb and the action shots of boxing are enthralling.
Parallels are drawn between Durán’s Panamanian upbringing with an American father and the Torrijos-Carter treaties in 1977. This I felt could have been explored a little better to make a more decent film. It seems like a missed opportunity to tell a better story. However, it wasn’t all that bad as I learned something new. I just wish the director would have stuck to fewer film techniques. This was not the right kind of movie to try and use different styles.