You’ve obviously been following the whole production saga of the upcoming Roberto Durán biopic, Hands of Stone. Whether your a boxing fan, a Panameño, or none of the above, any living human being should be excited by the prospect of two heavyweight actors like Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramírez teaming up for a classic sports drama. Unfortunately the whole ordeal has been dragged out over several years, and since the film was picked up for distribution at Cannes nearly a year ago we’ve only recently gotten anything like an official release date. Not to mention that up until now we’ve been seeing the same old press stills over and over, with no sense of what the movie actually looks like.
But that was up till now, because the Weinstein Company has finally released an official trailer for Hands of Stone. That’s right: moving images. Over 56 seconds we are immersed in a stylishly shot cinematic universe featuring marquee names from De Niro and Ramírez down to Usher, Rubén Blades, and even John Turturro. Hands of Stone dramatizes the humble origins and standout career of the former world title-holder from his upbringing in the slums of Panama City to his well documented rivalry with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Durán finally ended his 34-year professional professional career back in 2002, at the ripe age of 50.
The trailer suggests this all plays out in a pretty classic boxing movie format, with shots ironically reminiscent of De Niro’s own pugilist masterpiece Raging Bull. An attractive color palette and desaturated cinematography lend a nostalgic feel to the production, which evidently bounces back and forth between hazy scenes of Durán’s origins on the streets of Panama and his bitter rivalry with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. The dramatic axis, of course, is Durán’s relationship with his New York-born trainer Ray Arcel, played by De Niro, and the aging thespian seems to be giving it all to the performance.
We’ll have to wait and see how well it all works on the big screen when Hands of Stone premieres nationwide on August 26th, but there’s no question that this is a promising start.
UPDATE 4/14/2017: Hands of Stone is now available to stream on Netflix and Amazon.