Written by: Arron Blake and Darius Shu
Starring: Arron Blake and #PhilipBrisebois
Cranking the atmosphere to eleven, short #filmmakers Arron Blake and Darius Shu treat audiences to a smorgasbord of tension and drama with no dialogue to act as relief. The result is a compelling and piercing mystery-thriller.
Blake stars alongside Philip Brisebois as two men, one younger and one older, engaging in a completely bizarre encounter, whereby they perform sensual acts in front of the other that seem to escalate and become increasingly disturbing. The intensity of the behavior, which can range from stirring a teacup or putting on earrings to performing a Dexter-esque bathroom routine, is utterly engrossing. The viewer is gripped by these visceral visuals, leaving them a silent third partner in this dramatic exchange.
To create and maintain such an atmosphere, the audial elementals needed to be spot on and they are. Chas Langston delivers a remarkable sound design that knows when to strike and when to lay dormant. The result being an unnerving experience for the audience. There are also some splendid visual moments in His Hands, Shu turns in some excellent #cinematography as well as some clever framing, such as the back of Blake's head as he dons the earrings.
The performances are really strong, Blake presents a formidable on screen presence that is loaded with palpable vigour. As he stares at the man across the table the viewer has a thousand and one questions as to the nature of their relationship but Blake is the picture of stoicism. Brisebois, contrastingly, conjures a delicate balance between terror and terrified, all without words. Together the two performances are terrific watching.
Numerous ideas and themes present themselves during a viewing of His Hands. It's a #shortfilm that benefits from a richness in ambiguity in the storytelling and bold creativity in the filmmaking. That being said, it can be hard to penetrate any further than an experience movie. The journey is nerve shatteringly entertaining and it has superb cinematic appeal but it can definitely be argued that the lack of clarity in the plot could potentially be disappointing.
It's possible we are witnessing only one character's journey, perhaps at different stages in life, where the identity he has assumed has become his greatest nemesis. The introspective nature of the movie and the eschewing of traditional dialogue cement this idea, establishing an environment that is wholly personal and affecting.
Equally, it is just as possible that the film is about the differing generational attitudes towards sexual identity and masculinity. Either way this is thought-provoking cinema, well crafted and superbly delivered.