I've got a lot of work comin' up. I could use another set of hands.Two Hands (1999) is an Australian crime film starring Heath Ledger, Bryan Brown and Rose Byrne and directed by Gregor Jordan. It was praised by critics for its humour and the performances of Brown and the then relatively unknown Ledger and Byrne. It cemented Ledger's status as a star in his own country after his introduction to American audiences in 10 Things I Hate About You.Jimmy is a young man working as a bouncer in the red light district of King's Cross, Sydney. When gangster Pando gives him a chance to earn some extra money, Jimmy takes him up on the offer. Pando instructs Jimmy to deliver $10,000 to a woman in Bondi, but Jimmy arrives to find the woman dead and then loses the money before he's able to return it. Rightfully fearing Pando's wrath, Jimmy hatches a plan to rob a bank in order to pay him back.—-
The film provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Pando's transformation from cold gangster to loving father of a five year-old boy and back again is priceless.
- Alone with the Psycho: Rose Byrne's one scene with Bryan Brown.
- Bank Robbery
- Berserk Button: For Pando, failure of any kind. For Jimmy, don't make light of his brother's death and especially don't tell him you and your mates were the ones who killed him.
- Chekhov's Gun: A thug's gun fails to go off because he put it through the wash. Later on it fails on him again at an even more inopportune moment.
- Convenient Misfire: See Chekhov's Gun.
- The young girl who took the money with her friend is a Chevhov's gunman. She shows up towards the end and guns down Pando and his men as revenge for running over her friend. One thug manages to fire back, but his gun is the one in the example above.
- Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Pando genuinely loves his young son, and with the exception of the long hours his particular line of work requires, there's nothing to suggest he's a bad parent.
- Guilt by Coincidence: A variation in which Pando is the authority. When he sees a drawing of his on one of the notes of the $10,000 Jimmy gives him at the end, he thinks Jimmy absconded with the money after all and then changed his mind. He has about two seconds to ponder this before one of the kids who actually took the money guns down him and his men.
- How We Got Here / In Medias Res: The film starts the middle of the story. It's night in the middle of nowhere, and Pando is about to kill Jimmy.
- Idiot Ball: Seriously, Jimmy, burying the money in the sand while you went swimming was a great idea.
- Mr Fan Service / Ms Fan Service: Ledger and Byrne, both 19 at the time.
- Posthumous Narration: Jimmy's brother delivers a monologue early in the film while attempting to tunnel up through the Earth's core.
- Robbing the Mob Bank: The street kids Helen and Pete steal the $10,000 Jimmy was holding for Pando; although this causes trouble for Jimmy rather than for Helen and Pete. Later a car thief steals Acko's beloved Ford Falcon. The mechanic to whom he delivers it to be stripped happens to be a friend of Acko's and recognises it immediately.
- Shirtless Scene: More than one. And yes, ladies, we're talking about Ledger.
- You Have Failed Me
Two Hands was a refreshing and confident debut from Gregor Jordan, one of the first winners of Tropfest – an annual short film competition – to make a feature. It’s a clever mix of genre elements, heavily influenced by US and British comic crime films of the 1990s, but with a strongly Australian vernacular tone. Indeed, the characterisations of Australian criminal types are one of the film’s main assets, as is the way that Jordan insists on showing them in domestic situations. Pando, the Bryan Brown character, talks lovingly to his small son on the phone; we see him helping the boy with his origami, just seconds before he sets out to kill Jimmy. One of the film’s funniest scenes has Jimmy getting ready for an armed robbery in the lounge room of a suburban house. The experienced criminal Wozza (Steve Le Marquand) talks about the benefits of shotguns as his children crawl around on the floor.
These scenes link to a speech given at the film’s outset by the ghost (Steve Vidler), who says that no one is all good or all bad. Pando is a murderer who also loves his kids, crime is his profession, not who he is. At the same time, the film has a few moments of shocking violence that are completely unexpected, and one character (Acko, played by David Field) that really does personify great evil. In a sense, it’s a film about the transition from child to adult, innocence to corruption, with Acko as the worst case scenario. Jimmy is on the road to perdition until he meets Alex (Rose Byrne). He has always wanted to work with his hands, he tells her, and she suggests a way out of the life he’s leading. The movie is partly an accusation about inequality of opportunity in modern Australia, though the message is well hidden behind layers of confident comedy.