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Tonight, Hamill's Throws Down at Regal Cinemas South Beach

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It was only a matter of time before the world's fastest-growing sport, mixed martial arts, got the Hollywood movie treatment. And Hamill certainly falls under formulaic sports flicks. But what makes it different is that our hero's story is true and his achievement truly impressive, because UFC fighter Matt "the Hammer" Hamill was born profoundly deaf in both ears.

Raised in Loveland, Ohio, by his mother and grandfather, Hamill is taught from a young age that he shouldn't feel sorry for himself and that the world owes him nothing. A fighting spirit and an inner rage help him find his calling in high school wrestling, where he is outstanding enough to earn a full ride to Purdue University.

But he soon learns that his insulated world of rural Ohio is very

different from the hustle and bustle of college life, especially for a

deaf person, and he's eventually cut from the Purdue wrestling team.

Undeterred, he enlists at RIT National Institute for the Deaf and

refocuses himself with the help of his hearing-impaired classmates and

wrestling teammates.

There's a love interest, a best friend, and the requisite final showdown

common to all sports films. Director Oren Kaplan does a magnificent job

showing the everyday challenges of being deaf. A large portion of the

film is in sign language (with subtitles), and the viewer is cast into

Hamill's world when his challenges are magnified by muffled sounds, to

dramatic effect. Russell Harvard, a hearing-impaired actor you might

remember from There Will Be Blood, turns in a powerful and engaging

performance as Matt Hamill. March 9 at 9:15 p.m., Regal Cinemas South

Beach (1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-674-6766).

HAMILL - Official Teaser from Hamill the Movie on Vimeo.

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