July 29, 1999
In his wonderfully inventive and decidedly Australian debut feature, Gregor Jordan returns to Sundance (his short, Swinger, played in 1996) with a film that is fresh, funny, and an unqualified delight. With its sophisticated meshing of gangster, horror, and deadpan comedy genres (in the director's words, "like Goodfellas in shorts and thongs"), Two Hands is giddy with invention, style, and brazen raw talent. Guided by its supernatural narrator, acting as part Greek chorus, part guardian angel, Two Hands unravels the high-speed misadventures of Jimmy, its dim-witted but good-natured protagonist. Staving off homelessness in Sydney's seedy inner city, Jimmy, in the same day, meets two people who will forever change his life: Alex, the poster girl for perfect love; and Pando, a local drug kingpin, who is as content to watch origami videos with his six-year-old as he is to snuff a life at the faintest whiff of betrayal. Looking to trade his bottom-of-the-barrel career as a strip-club bouncer for more lucrative and exciting prospects, Jimmy jumps when Pando offers him an entry-level position as a courier. But what seems to be the simplest of jobs turns perilously awry when Jimmy takes a postheist breather at the beach and allows his overrevved, adolescent libido to bury reason--and ten thousand dollars in cash--in the sand. With star turns from Jordan's young and seasoned cast members (especially newcomer Heath Ledger and the venerable Bryan Brown) and an immensely talented production team, Two Hands is accomplished filmmaking and effervescent entertainment.