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January 26, 2010
Two Hands Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
29/7/19991/2/2010Icon FilmsGregor Jordan
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0MA15+Heath Ledger

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Heath Ledger as Jimmy in Two Hands (1999).

The passing of Heath Ledger a couple of years ago was an absolutely tragedy for the entire film industry. Of course we all know he, deservedly, won the Academy Award for Best Actor as the Joker in The Dark Knight and was also nominated for an Oscar for his work in Brokeback Mountain. But it was in Australia where this actor got his start and in 1999 he starred in an Australian movie called Two Hands.

It seemed simple. Just deliver the cash... but when Jimmy loses ten grand of dirty money, the underworld comes knocking. If there's no cash, there's no more Jimmy. Suddenly it comes down to one hour, one girl, one crazy idea and ten thousand reasons to risk it all.

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Bryan Brown in Two Hands.
One can't go past this movie today without admiring the talents, and mourning the recent passing of Heath Ledger. Even in this film, one of his earliest, he commands presence on the screen like few other actors. His character Jimmy is quite likable, and one which you really want to go on the journey with. But it's not just Heath that stars in this movie, but a whole swag of brilliant Australian actors including Bryan Brown ("Breaker" Morant), Rose Byrne (Knowing) and David Field (City Homicide). Needless to say each puts in a fine performance while direction from Gregor Jordan, who also wrote the movie, keeps you interested with a fairly brisk pace and interesting characters.

As a crime movie this movie wins due to the interesting characters, the solid storyline set around Kings Cross (for International readers that's Sydney's "seedier" area) and the small-natured scale which has a similar feel to Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels which we recently reviewed. If you haven't checked out this movie then we suggest you do so when you're up for some great Australian drama.

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Heath Ledger takes a dip in the water...
Icon Films have brought Two Hands out on Blu-Ray using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at 1.78:1 which is slightly altered from the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. We have to say that despite the often very high bitrate this isn't a great looking movie. Sure the 1920 x 1080i (yes, interlaced) resolution makes the image look a lot sharper then the DVD release but the overall look is rather soft and often unstable. There remains plenty of film artifacts and dirt on the image as well as some telecine wobble (although this may in part be the use of handheld cameras).

More disappointing then the video quality is the audio which in this release is 'only' presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. Given the prevalence of surround sound in movies these days, and the brilliant lossless tracks on so many Blu-Ray's the presentation here sounds decidedly flat and front heavy (which, of course, is to be expected with a 2 channel mix).

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Heath Ledger on Bondi Beach.
There is only a single subtitle track on this disc - English Hard of Hearing Subtitles which seem accurate to the dialogue on-screen with the text placed close to the person speaking making it easier to follow conversations.

Sadly this Blu-Ray release is completely devoid of extras which is disappointing given that the DVD release included some extras such as interviews, a behind the scenes featurette and trailers.

This is a pretty bare-bones release on Blu-Ray with the only possible reason to upgrade being the visual and audio improvements. Having said that this isn't a great looking or sounding movie and for that reason we have to question the value in upgrading.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.