Short Film Review: His Hands

Arron Blake and Darius Shu write, direct, and produce short film, His Hands, an atmospheric psychological thriller. Shu and Blake opt not to use dialogue throughout, lending further strength to the film’s richly crafted aesthetics and allowing us as viewers to use our own perspectives in exploring the intriguingly ambiguous narrative.

We see the meeting of two men, a young man (Blake) and an older gentleman (Philip Brisebois). The relationship between both men is kept under wraps, but the journey both take in the older man’s sparsely furnished house brings numerous thematic threads into question.

Themes of acceptance, loneliness and both gender and sexual identity arise from the impressively crafted thirteen minute short feature. Whilst elements of the diversity of human sexuality and the dangers of hook-up culture in the LGBT community feel somewhat touched upon. Yet the joy of His Hands comes from this ambiguity, cleverly enhanced by the absence of dialogue.

A dialogue-free performance is surely a challenging feat for any actor, yet Blake and Brisebois deliver captivating turns, without having to spell out their character motivations to viewers. Blake’s performance packs a seductive danger delivered through carefully orchestrated mannerisms and gestures, whilst there is a sadness, vulnerability and hopelessness in Brisebois’ skilled performance. Both actors bring a stirring sense of authenticity and natural gravitas to the production.

Praise should go to the short’s meticulous direction and cinematography which manages to capture a macabre tone in the darkened interior locations. Shu and Blake’s direction carefully mounts up tension throughout in a gently unsettling manner, building to the short’s unexpected, well-orchestrated conclusion.


Andrew McArthur

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