Two Hands Zaphira
Jimmy (played by Heath Ledger) lives in King Cross, which is a very rough neighbourhood in Sydney, Australia. He wants to be a part of the group that hangs around with the local gangster, Pando (brilliantly played by Bryan Brown). Pando decides to give Jimmy a simple job, which Jimmy eagerly accepts without really knowing what it’s all about.
To make a long story short, Jimmy loses $10,000 and it’s pretty obvious that Pando isn’t happy with that, so he sends his gorillas after Jimmy. Throughout this mess Jimmy meets and falls for a country girl, Alex (played by Rose Byrne), and together they're in for one hell of a ride through King Cross.
Two Hands is a black comedy about crime and survival in the rough end of town. But let me be honest – the story is a bit daft. It has its funny moments, yes, but there were so many things in it I didn’t get. I’ll be honest with you guys: I had a language problem. The Australian accent can be quite a challenge in itself, so add a great deal of Aussie slang to the mix and you know what I was up against. The subtitles, which were in English, were bloody annoying too, because they had all the little “umms” and “ehs” and other sound words. Not to mention that whenever a song played in the soundtrack, a subtitle came up with song title and artist. Very distracting!
The humour was very dry and very dark. A little bit like Pulp Fiction, so if you liked that, you’ll probably like this Australian version of a gangster comedy. I learned that American and Australian gangsters are very different in one particular area: The way they dress. American gangsters tend to wear Armani, whereas Australian gangsters apparently wear badly fitting surfershorts.
This movie is from 1999, before Heath Ledger was a real name, and I don’t think he impressed a lot. He is OK in the movie because he's Australian and looks naive; but beyond that, he's not the best lead I've ever seen in a movie. Bryan Brown however, was really good! He didn’t have a great deal of screen time, but he managed to pretty much steal every scene he was in. Rose Byrne annoyed the hell out of me throughout the movie – I think she played really badly.
The other main female character was excellent however – Susie Porter who plays Deirdre, the woman who helps organise a local bank hold-up, a 'job' which Jimmy gets involved with, in an effort to make up the missing 10 thousand. She was really good in this role.
I have to mention also that I enjoyed the band Powderfinger’s contribution to the soundtrack. Those songs were Stellar and spot on!
out of 6.
Flarin says :
I introduced Pussy Cat to this movie, and I didn't think about the accent\slang issue...'shotty' (shotgun), 'cactus' (dead) and so on...it didn't add to her enjoyment of this, probably one of my top 20 movies and one of Heath Ledger's best roles, in my opinion.
The movie is indeed a dark comedy, with a supernatural narrative, in the form of Jimmy's dead brother...
...who, having been brutally murdered by Pando and his boys, digs his way up from Hell, in order to (attempt to) save his younger brother from the same fate and in the process, gives us some voice-overs.
The film takes place in and around King's Cross, the seedy red light district of Sydney. It *is* a questionable neighborhood - I've spent time in hotels there before now and, yeah - it's a bit rough
Anyway - Jimmy, on his first try-out job for Pando, is entrusted with the delivery of $10,000 to a Woman in a Bondi Beach apartment.
He drives there in Pando's offsider, Acko's brutal muscle car, only to find that the lady doesn't answer the door (we the priveleged viewers know that she's just coughed herself to death, with a fag in her mouth...). So - he takes a rest on the beach just over the road, mistakenly thinks he see the love interest (Rose Byrne) taking a swim - and make the wrong decision - the teeny tiny decision that fucks everything up. He buries the money in the sand, piles his clothes on top and leaps in for a quick swim - only to see that it's not Rose Byrne at all. Too late...
...two street kids (played superbly and utterly believably by Mariel McClorey and Evan Sheaves) have seen him hide something in the sand, and don't waste any time - as soon as Jimmy moves out, they move in & take the money. And then the trouble starts!
Having lost the money, Jimmy takes the car and runs for help to Deirdre (I think his dead bro's girlfriend), played excellently by Susie Porter...
...and while he's there, the car is stolen, the thief tries to sell it to a guy who knows Pando....so they get onto Jimmy's trail...and the comedic black drama unfolds.
Knowing that Pando will kill him for losing the money, Jimmy gets himself involved in a bank job, facilitated by Deirde...which goes dramatically, hilariously wrong...
...and then there's the shootout, one of the robber trio is killed, Jimmy and the other guy get away with it after an amusing car chase sequence involving a local radio station team, on the road trying to give away $10,000 as a spot prize....beautifully ironic...a nice touch.
Meanwhile - back to the two street kids. On the way to get the stolen car back, Pando's boys run over and kill the younger blond kid. A very dramatic scene....quite shocking in it's speed. His best buddy, the dark haired boy, is with him when it happens and, long story short, turns the remains of the stolen money and his grief into revenge-energy.
The cog wheels of the story roll around, Jimmy gets his cut of the bank roll, takes it to Pando to pay back his debt, is allowed to live, walks out after refusing to join the gang, and on his way out of Pando's office, passes the dark haired boy on the way in....
This is a funny, violent, quick and intelligent movie - if it isn't a cult item by now it should be. Heath Ledger does very well indeed on an early outing, and ...Rose Byrne...well, I dunno - Pussy Cat was extremely irritated by her style (or lack of it), but I'm not sure that wasn't just the way she was playing the role of naive country girl on her first trip to the big bad city....she certainly does the simpering idiot role well, if that's the case. Alternatively, it was one of her first real film roles and she was still finding her style...hard to say. She got on my nerves a bit too, but I (had) put that down to the mark of an OK actress
The young boys playing the street kids were amazingly good, not a trace of self-conciousness, and the characters were *real*, you know what I mean? I didn't doubt them for a second. When I totally believe in the characters, I'm impressed.
I think this is one of Bryan Brown's better movies - he really is good here...and his supporting cast are also bloody excellent, including the exceedingly accomplished and talented David Field
as Acko - Pando's right hand man. (I last saw David Field in Ghosts of the Civil Dead
- an extremely powerful Australian movie, and also highly recommended by yours truly, and almost certain never to be reviewed here
Anyways - I can hugely recommend Two Hands - as I said, it's in my top 20 all time must-have movies. As Pussy Cat says, if you liked Pulp Fiction, you'll probably like this - although this hasn't got the self-concious chic of Tarantino's movies, it has got a solid air of realism, droll humour and totally believable, naturally acted characters. And a pretty good story, good location shots, a number of surprises and...yeah...I give this movie
out of 6