134. Two Hands (1999)

Two thumbs for sure

Directed by: Gregor Jordan
Written by: Gregor Jordan
Starring: Heath Ledger, Bryan Brown and David Field

Absolute knockout

Two Hands is everything an Australian film should be – darkly funny, compelling, a little surreal and unafraid of its unique physical, cultural and social Aussiness. With a simple, yet powerful plot, Two Hands is supported by strong performances and a visually interesting sense of direction that finds beauty in the grittiness of Sydney’s Kings Cross and one boy’s search for identity in a crime-driven world.

Jimmy (Ledger) works as one of the front doormen of strip club in Sydney’s King’s Cross. When a leading crime boss offers him a chance to work for him, Jimmy leaps at the opportunity, taking $10, 000 in an envelope to an address as his first job. But distracted by a love interest, Jimmy’s first job goes completely awry, forcing him to take matters into his own hands and run from hired goons who are out to get the money back or have him dead.

While the plot could have easily suited a brainless thriller, Two Hands combines adrenaline pumping action from the criminal underworld with the more deeply engaging ideas of fate, morality and justice. In doing so, Two Hands is creative and even a little theatrical in its production values so that the action and twisting plot of the film is always linked to bigger and more significant ideas that have an intimacy we might not expect in such a premise. With Heath Ledger’s youthful and exuberant performance, Two Hands has a level of energy and power that gives the Australian film industry the lift that it needs. While Australian films commonly distance their audiences through the unique landscape of Australia’s culture and physical environment, Two Hands uses it to its advantage,


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