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Australia 1999
Directed by
Gregor Jordon
1999 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Two Hands

Writer-director Gregor Jordon's crime comedy movie described, not altogether unfairly,by one wit as "Goodfellas in thongs" took out the major awards at the AFIs in the year of its release and launched Heath Ledger's career.

Niftily scripted by Jordan and suggesting an Antipodean version of the style of crime films Guy Ritchie was making in the UK and Quentin Tarantino in the USA from its brash opening titles it rocks along with punchy vigour as Ledger's none-too-bright Jimmy, a spruiker in Sydney's King's Cross during its heyday in the 1970s bungles a simple job for crime boss, Pando (Bryan Brown) because he can't get his mind off winsome country girl, Alex (Rose Byrne). In order to pay back the $10,000 he owes Pando he gets involved in a bank robbery that, of course,goes wrong.

Jordan has a lot of fun with the story, kitting out his roster of potty-mouthed Ocker villains in daggy '70s fashion and takes a tongue-in-cheek view of Western suburbs criminality, a popular subject in Australian film, loading it with idiomatic dialogue and local references (the monorail that JImmy and Alex ride on has since been removed).

Bryan Brown is outstanding as the King's Cross bully-cum-family-man whilst actors such as David Field, Steve Le Marquand and Susie Porter add colour to the garish palette. On the other hand although there is no doubt that Rose Byrne (in effectively her feature film debut) fits the bill as a cutie-pie her endless nervous giggling should have been downplayed.




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