Jimmy (Heath Ledger) is given a simple job by Pando (Bryan Brown) a underworld kingpin to deliver money to a particular address, but when no one answers the door Jimmy decides to take a dip at the beach to pass some time, but he notices that his clothes on the sand have been messed up and the 10 grand is gone. Jimmy rings Pando to tell him the problem, but he doesn't want to hear it. Pando and his boys try their best to locate Jimmy, meaning no more Jimmy if they get their hands on him. So now Jimmy goes into hiding to organise a bank robbery to get Pando's money back. Also throughout this mess he meets the innocently sweet Alex (Rose Byrne) and together they're in for one hell of a ride through Sydney's King Cross.
"Two Hands" is simply an engrossing pick-me-up film that's brisk, exhilarating and incredibly fresh. What you got here is pretty much an urban gangster film with a seedy backdrop and in-your-face violence
what, how's that fresh you ask? Well, because it takes us into the underworld where the Australian culture shines with criminals wearing thongs (flip flops) and footy shorts, done up cars and a can of beer in the hand
and don't forgot the Australian sense of humour, dry and sarcastic. You can say it owes a lot to the likes of "Pulp Fiction", "Goodfellas" (a fave of mine) and "Lock, stock and two smoking barrels" for its inspiration, but for me it still stands on its own. The film has real mixture of light-hearted moments, but also a mean streak to it with some unexpected shocks and black humour that can actually be disturbing. You just don't know what's coming and it has a nice touch of snappy irony (especially the ending) and great timing with its humour. One scene involving a bank robbery will have you in stitches, I guarantee you. The plot's outline is really a coming to age story (or about the road not taken), with a punching love tale added and then the gangster element to finish it off. Most of the sub-plots were cleverly constructed and interlocked, well maybe it could've gone without the supernatural element involving Jimmy's dead brother, but in the overall context the diverse plot seems to all click together. Intense, natural and crisp dialogue filled the outrageously colourful script, with quick jabs of Aussie slang/twang - I'm fair dinkum!
What truly made the film was that of Bryan Brown's performance of Pando. He just gave his character such a deviously charismatic/nasty persona that when he wasn't on screen his presence was still felt. He gave his character two sides - one being a prick, but the other side is such a good bloke. A young Rose Byrne glows with her nervously sweet/quirky character Alex. She looked radially gorgeous and added a bubbly personality. Then you got Heath Ledger who fit's the buck as the naive Jimmy. Great supporting cast involved with the likes of Susie Porter, Tom Long, David Field, Steve Vidler and Steve Le Marquand. Such raw performances are achieved and from that you get riveting, fun and believable characters. Pumping rock soundtrack bursting at the seams with the likes of Powderfinger and Alex Lloyd provide a cool vibe. Also being shot on location in Sydney's King Cross really helped it stick out by holding a life of its own and showing the Australian way of life. Gliding camera tricks captured the city's backdrop superbly, especially the piercing nightlife. This was a film that when it ended I was totally satisfied with what I got. Overall, a slickly paced crime thriller that achieves what it intended to do... a fun, clever and crazy roller coaster ride of thrills and excitement.
I say, it's a successful Aussie take on "Lock, Stock and Two smoking barrels" by director/writer Gregor Jordan in his debut film. If you come across it, don't hesitate to it give it a go.