Two Hands (Magna Pacific) (1998)

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Released 22-Jan-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-TV commercials
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 89:15 (Case: 103)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gregor Jordan
Studio
Distributor

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Heath Ledger
Bryan Brown
David Field
Susie Porter
Rose Byrne
Mariel McClory
Steve Le Marquand
Tom Long
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Cezary Skubiszewski


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Jimmy (Heath Ledger) works out the front of a strip club in Kings Cross, Sydney. He lives in a crappy apartment and does not have much to look forward to aside from amateur boxing and maybe being invited to do some work for local mobster Pando (Bryan Brown). One night he meets Alex (Rose Byrne) the sister of a friend of his, in the big city from the country for a bit of sight seeing. He asks her out on a date the same day that he gets a job from Pando. What’s the job? Simple – deliver $10,000 to a woman in a flat in Bondi. What could go wrong? An hour later, the woman is dead and Jimmy has been swindled out of $10,000 by a couple of street kids. This kicks off a mad chain of events with Jimmy trying to avoid getting killed by Pando and his menacing crew while at the same time coming up with the cash needed to even the score without getting Alex caught up in the middle.

    Two Hands is the first feature success by Australian writer/director Gregor Jordan, who was also responsible for the wild Buffalo Soldiers and the recent Ned Kelly, also starring Heath Ledger. It is quite different to those two films, obviously made on a far more limited budget. It is, however, quintessentially Australian in its taste, and is very seedy blue collar criminal in its approach. Full of quirky and off-beat humour, plenty of familiar Sydney-side locales, and filmed in a rather gritty low-budget fashion, it keeps the laughs rolling with the action.

    Sure, Two Hands is far from being a perfect film. It sometimes tries a little hard on some of its laughs. But the performances are generally very good, especially Bryan Brown as the psychopathic Pando – all smiles and nice around his kids, contemplative and serious when playing scrabble and chess, and casually menacing, cold-blooded and sadistic when it comes to business. Like Shakespeare’s Richard III, he can smile, and murder while he smiles.

    Overall, fun, gritty and entertaining – a B-grade crime flick at its best. Don’t expect high art here, or any real emotional intensity. Just plenty of good laughs at the expense of some very unprofessional and disorganised criminals.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. This is the original aspect ratio.

    Overall, the picture is fairly grainy, with some persistent low-level noise.

    Colours are well saturated, but this is offset by the loss of shadow detail in the graininess of the print and the low-level noise in the transfer, creating a slightly murky effect in night shots.

    There were no real glaring MPEG artefacts, but (as mentioned above) there was some low-level noise. I spotted some moiré on the grille on the side of a telephone booth at 53:02 and some posterisation on facial close-ups, and there was some dot-crawl going on in the sign on the flats at 19:26.

    There were quite a few rather distracting film artefacts, the odd large piece of dirt in the middle of the screen (two more noticeable instances were at 25:13 and 40:55), a blotch right in the centre of the picture at 57:26, and a wobble in the picture at 31:2131:25.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired only. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, with appropriate cues.

    The layer change is at 42:12. It is during a scene change and is not terribly distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only an English 2.0 Dolby Surround track available.

    For the whole, dialogue is clear enough and can be understood. I did not notice any audio sync problems.

    The range is not excellent, often sounding a little flat. The score by Cezary Skubiszewski comes across okay, and there is good use made of tracks by Powderfinger and Alex Lloyd.

    The surround presence is not fantastic. There are only a couple of instances where you are even aware of the surrounds. There is a good one at 64:06 with a bullet shot that flies through the surround screen amidst all the rain. But mostly the surrounds gave some slight ambience to the score and that was about it.

    I noticed a rather bad audio glitch at 49:18.

    There was no use of the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and static, with about 10 seconds of a Powderfinger track playing in 2.0 Dolby Stereo.

Behind The Scenes (2:33)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is some footage taken on set during the making of the film. It is fairly random and structureless.

Interviews

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are interviews here with Heath Ledger (3:22), Rose Byrne (2:23), Bryan Brown (2:53), Gregor Jordan (8:34) and Marion McGowan (4:25).

Theatrical Trailer (1:47)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo. Picture quality is not fantastic, with the colours a little off, and the whole thing a little too saturated.

TV Commercials (2:03)

    Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are three TV commercials here for the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is as yet no R1 release of this film. However, there is an R2 German release, and (annoyingly) it has an English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track as well as most of the extras. I guess that makes it the winner.

Summary

    Two Hands is an early work by an emerging Australian talent, and featuring early performances by other emerging Australian talents. It is far from a perfect film, but for B-grade value it is highly enjoyable.

    Video is not excellent, but a lot of the problems are likely with the source rather than the transfer. No major faults.

    Sound is a decent 2.0 Dolby Surround mix, but a 5.1 Dolby Digital remastering would have been nice.

    The extras were largely promotional materials and added no real insight to the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Sunday, September 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
How does this compare with the original R4 release? - Christopher REPLY POSTED
B-grade!?!? - Courtney Miles REPLY POSTED
One of the better Australians films from the last few years. - TurkeyTom
Cut version of the film - grug
Oh, and the German disc is English 2.0 / German 5.1 - grug
Cut version of the film (more) - Clem