TWO FISTS, ONE HEART
Ever since he was a boy, Anthony Argo (Daniel Amalm) has been pushed to the limit by his Sicilian ex-boxer father, Joe (Ennio Fantastichini). When psychology student Kate (Jessica Marais) enters Anthony's life after a chance late-night meeting, he begins to see his life, and the role of violence within it, in a different light. Matters come to a head when Joe meets another promising Sicilian boxer, Nico Mancini (Rai Fazio) - fresh out of prison and full of fire to succeed in the ring. Supported by his best mate Theo (Paul Pantano) and Kate's colourful brother Tom (Tim Minchin), Anthony is able to finally lay his ghosts to rest. It is only when Nico betrays Joe, and Anthony finally learns some painful truths about his father's past, that the rift between father and son is finally healed.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Pro boxing is the field, but the game that's being played here on that field is the more important challenge of a father-sun tussle in which both will end up winners - or losers. While the story is set in Perth, semi-autobiographically for writer and co-star Rai Fazio, the themes are universal, and the simple (but not simplistic) story is delivered with considerable verve by debuting director Shawn Seet and an ensemble cast that makes it zing.
Naturalistic and credible, complex characterisation mark the performances, with Fazio a standout as a belligerent fighter - as opposed to Daniel Amalm's natural boxer. Amalm has a terrific screen presence, and his conflicted relationship with his father, superbly portrayed by Ennio Fantastichini, drives much of the film's dramatic engine. The conflict with Fazio's Nico is the second driver, with his romantic - but still conflicted - relationship with Kate (Jessica Marais - excellent) the third.
Accolades, too, to Tim Minchin as Kate's muso brother, and Rosemarie Lenzo as Anthony's mother, while Kostas Kilias has an impressive presence as the car salesman / boxing promoter, Costas Akidis.
Good storytelling skills keep our attention and we believe enough to care about the characters; they're all flawed, and we might give them advice as we watch, but they find the answers without us. And while there is a predictable resolution, it is satisfying nonetheless - it would be disappointing if it turned out any other way.
There's enough boxing to please boxing fans, but it's neatly balanced by attention to character and the emotional journey that turns Anthony into a man and his father into a wiser man, who has always know that in the boxing ring, everyone is the same, with two fists and one heart. But how to use them all is the most important thing, and that's not always discovered in the training ring.
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HEAR THE INTERVIEWS:
DANIEL AMALM & RAI FAZIO INTERVIEWS
TWO FISTS, ONE HEART (M)
CAST: Daniel Amalm, Rai Fazio, Ennio Fantastichini, Jessica Marais, Rosemarie Lenzo, Karl Bin Rashid, Costas Kilias, Paul Pantano, Tim Minchin, Louisa Mignone
PRODUCER: David Elfick
DIRECTOR: Shawn Seet
SCRIPT: Rai Fazio
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Hugh Miller
EDITOR: Deborah Peart, Milena Romanin
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sam Rickard
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 19, 2009
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.