Two Hands


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 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew


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



Heath Ledger Pictures

Radio City Music Hall, Incredible Hulk, Heath Ledger and Lindsay Lohan

* DESIGNER LIED TO PARKER ABOUT 'THIRD-HAND DRESS'SARAH JESSICA PARKER is fuming after she was tricked into wearing a third-hand dress to the New York premiere of SEX AND THE CITY: THE MOVIE. Designer Olivier Theyskens assured the actress no one had worn or beenphotographed in the Nina Ricci gown before she slipped into it for thestar-studded bash at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall last week (28May08). She only later discovered Lindsay Lohan wore the same dress for a high-profile photo shoot for Harpers Bazaar magazine last year (07), and socialite Lauren Santo Domingo showed it off to photographers at the Costume Institute Gala in New York just last month (May08). And Parker is upset by her treatment: In the big picture, this is notimportant, but there is a relationship between the entertainment industry and fashion. We've watched sales dwindle and we've watched people be less inclined to spend money on clothes. Look, my affection for the dress hasn't changed, but what they did was so short-sighted. It's just unethical and disappointing that they would allow the dress to be worn again. She adds of Theyskens, I just wish it had been handled differently and they had been straight about it. (IG/NYT/MT) Lindsay Lohan wearing a silver ballgown with BatmanLOHAN'S HEROESThe men in Lindsay Lohan's life will be green with envy when they see these pictures.The actress has reportedly dumped her lover for Hollywood hunk Heath Ledger. But the actor who is set to play the Joker in the new Batman movie will be stunned to see there is room for more than one superhero in the 21-year-old's life.Lohan posed with her favourite superheros, including Spider-Man, Robin and the Incredible Hulk, for German fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh.The photos will feature in a 2008 edition of Harpers Bazaar magazine. (LJ/WN/MT)Los Angeles, California - 04.12.07