Two Hands

"Excellent"

Two Hands Review


Writer/director Gregor Jordan's Two Hands is a brilliant little film; what we Aussies might call a "ripper." Preceding the more sophisticated Aussie thriller Chopper by just a year, it announced the beginning of the Australian film industry's obsession with crime. Not quite as stylish as Dirty Deeds or as hilarious as Gettin' Square, Two Hands deals well in both these traits, adding to the mix grit, suspense, and true romance.

Jimmy (Heath Ledger) works as a doorman at a strip club in the infamous Kings Cross area of Sydney. "The Cross" is the kind of place where trouble of the criminal kind is perfectly unavoidable, and Jimmy has trouble avoiding it. When asked by crime kingpin Pando (Bryan Brown) to deliver $10,000 to a unit in Bondi, Jimmy sees himself moving up in the world. When he loses the money on a disappointingly unromantic errand and it is stolen by a pair of Dickensian street kids, Jimmy knows he is a dead man. His only chance is to hook up with his dead brother's ex-gang and rob a bank to make the money back. As Pando's goons, including Acko (David Field) and Wally (Tom Long), hunt Jimmy down, the film races tensely to a climax that will decide his fate.

Jordan begins the movie with the rather forced metaphor of the Chinese yin and yang, told through the tattoo that braces Jimmy's arm so obviously as he moves through the plot. Jimmy's dead brother, narrating the story rather literally from the grave, explains that there is a little good in even the worst people, and a little bad in the best. Despite the hokeyness of its initial enunciation the ying/yang motif is carried expertly throughout the film. Ledger's Jimmy is the walking embodiment of Two Hands' underlying philosophy, a young man pure and charming, but in the context of his employment, lacking a certain innocence. In Jordan's follow-up, Ned Kelly, Ledger played the title character with a vigorous charm and an almost admirable criminality. There is more than a little Ned in Jimmy. Ledger's performance is endlessly charismatic, as is the turn by the brilliant Rose Byrne as love interest and photographer Alex.

However, it is Bryan Brown, as family man and ruthless killer Pando, around which the film unintentionally centers. He so convincingly seesaws between psychopath and patriarch that in a weaker or perhaps longer film his absences would stagnate. Nevertheless, as a character, and again an icon of the yin and yang family/gangster philosophy, Brown fits the film snuggly. Almost too Australian for words, Brown is perfectly cast as the suburban dad with a twitch - so much so that he basically reprises the role in David Caesar's film Dirty Deeds. Susie Porter offers an offbeat heart to the production, again mixing family with crime as the caring mother who preps Jimmy for the robbery as a side project.

Yet it is Sydney that smears its mark most memorably in Two Hands. Like the characters it harbors, it is here exposed for both its beauty and its darkness. Jordan moves his band of criminals through the city's underbelly and sullies some rather splendid locales. Tourist favorites like Bondi Beach have rarely seemed so sallow. Like Pando and Jimmy, Sydney itself is a yin and yang phenomenon and perhaps the perfect location for such a sordidly entertaining story to take place.

Philosophy is only a theme of Jordan's story; its driving force is its suspense, its conceit and its romance. Marred slightly by the gratuitous inclusion of the dead brother side-story, Two Hands is not insubstantial in its brevity. Jordan, here in his firecracker of a debut, has created a fast moving, and ultimately genuinely moving film. Two Hands is a true and highly recommended pocket rocket; a small film that really bangs.

Not a whole lot of features on this disk, but the soundtrack with songs from Alex Lloyd and Powderfinger is stellar.



Two Hands

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 29th July 1999

Production compaines: CML Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Marian Macgowen, , Mark Turnbull,

Starring: as Jimmy, as Pando, as Alex, as Acko, as Wally, Tony Forrow as Eddie, as The Man, Dale Kalnins as Kiwi Bob, as Les (Origami Presenter), William Drury as Jesus Freak, David Moeaki as Louise, Mathew Wilkinson as Rocket, Mary Acres as Mrs. Jones, Evan Sheaves as Pete, Jarrah Darling as Aaron, Jai Kemp as Security Guard

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.