26 September 2023

Pressure Point

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Michael Mailer, Defiant Screen Entertainment.

An inspirational sports drama that echoes resolve and bravery. After finishing last in the national championship, a dysfunctional Ivy League college rowing team

descends into chaos and squabbling.

That is, until an army veteran takes over as coach. His unconventional methods transform the status quo and help the young men overcome petty rivalries and personal challenges. He teaches them how to be a team — unlocking their true potential — so they can ultimately become champions.

Michael Shannon (8 Mile, Take Shelter, Midnight Special, Knives Out), who is also a co-producer, plays the role of tough rowing coach Jack Murphy. As he points out to the team: you’re here to learn one of the most important lessons in life … how to work together to achieve the impossible. No man is an island and everyone needs to commit to this.

Shannon leads a cast that also includes team captain Alex Singleton (Alexander Ludwig, The Hunger Games, Vikings), a selfish young man being pushed into this life by his father, struggling with the decision being placed on him. Charles Melton (Riverdale, The Sun is Also A Star) plays Chris, who doesn’t want to be there at all.

Murphy, whose expertise is sought everywhere, tries to draw out the enthusiasms of each individual, and then blends them into a winning machine. It’s a profound true story that follows a young team on their way to improbable magnificence, a win that comes at a price.

There’s a lot to Mailer’s (Black & White, Two Girls and a Guy, The Ledge) movie than meets the eye. It’s character-driven and manages to capture the young men’s fierce passions when it focuses on the infighting between the crew.

After having played roles as complainers and unbalanced characters, it’s refreshing to see Shannon play a character with strict moral attitudes, which is why Murphy’s forceful, approach makes for convincing viewing. Also providing some fervour are Ludwig and Melton. Even the highpoint is rather upbeat.

Who plays the role of the tough rowing coach Jack Murphy? You could win one of three DVDs of Pressure Point if your answer is correct. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 25 April 2022. Names of the winners will be announced in Frank Cassidy’s PS-sssst…! column on 26 April 2022.

  • Pressure Point is out on Digital and DVD

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