Two Hands

Two Hands (Gregor Jordan, 1999) prod. Marian Macgowan; 103 min.; Heath Ledger, Bryan Brown, Rose Byrne, David Field, Susie Porter, Tom Long, Steven Vidler, Tony Forrow, Mariel McClorey; Film Critics Circle Best Film Award and the Urban Cinefile/Telstra Movies Readers award for Favourite Australian Film for 1999; 1999 AFI awards for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Bryan Brown), Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing

Since the success of Gregor Jordan’s Two Hands in 1999, and perhaps because of it, there has been a strikingly large number of films involving organised crime. Two Hands won not only the Film Critics Circle Best Film Award and the Urban Cinefile/Telstra Movies Readers award for Favourite Australian Film for 1999, but also five AFI awards for 1999: Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Bryan Brown), Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing. And it was a nice little earner. It also launched the careers of Heath Ledger and Rose Byrne—although they are not the real stars: while technically a “supporting actor”, it is Bryan Brown who steals the show. His character Pando is a brutal killer, but also an Australian archetype and admirable family man. He wears fairly daggy casual clothes, wins at Scrabble with Acko (David Field), and has time to make origami figures with his son. The character of Pando seems to have hit a particular tone and created an expectation that gangster films in Australia should include black humour and recognisable national characteristics.

Garry Gillard, Crime, Ten Types of Australian Film.


New: 2 November, 2012 | Now: 22 March, 2013 | garrygillard[at]gmail.com