Pressure Point, previous known as Heart Of Champions and starring Michael Shannon as the no nonsense coach that you’ve seen a million times before, who coaches an underperforming team against the odds and helps set the young sports stars on the road to a better life is pretty much the staple of these kind of films, except this time it isn’t American Football or Basketball, no this time its rowing.
After finishing last in the national championship, a college rowing team descends into turmoil and constant infighting between team leaders. A tough Army veteran, Coach Murphy (Michael Shannon), arrives at the start of the new season to transform the status quo and unlock their true potential. Using his experience and unconventional methods to help them overcome petty rivalries and personal challenges, Coach Murphy must inspire these young men to learn what it takes to be a team before they can be champions.
In a interesting side note, the Executive Producers on Pressure Point are the Winklevoss twins, recognise the name? Well you might do as they were integral to Facebooks creation and for the most part Mark Zuckerberg’s nemesis in litigation for a fair few years and also featured in the David Fincher movie The Social Network. (Both twins played by Arnie Hammer). Both keen rowers, it’s a little side note that might make you raise an eyebrow. or maybe not.
Pressure Point fulfils all the basic sports movie and inspirational teacher tropes and is fairly heavy handed for the most part from director Michael Mailer. If you watched any of these types of films, you will know exactly where it’s going . However there’s a third act sucker punch that may just catch you off guard somewhat, despite fulfilling another inspirational teacher movie trope, it plays out and you won’t necessarily see it coming and it’s handled with about as much restraint as a bull in china shop.
However the devastatingly good looking cast and the fact that the film features a hitherto unseen sport of rowing, actually makes it stand out a little. Michael Shannon does his best General Zod as a teacher role, but is believable enough to carry it through. At times Pressure Point (Which is a far better title than Heart Of Champions) becomes fairly dry, that’s mainly down to the script, but its not long until we are back on the water with one of Coach Murphy’s unconventional training methods (Another trope ticked off).
Overall if you like these types of movies, Pressure Point won’t change the world, but is interesting enough to engage you for a couple of hours, but with few surprises. Dead Rowers Society if you will.