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IN GOD'S HANDS

SYNOPSIS:
Shane (Patrick Shane Dorian), Mickey (Matt George) and Keoni (Matthew Stephen Liu) are three surfing friends. While Mickey was once at the top of the pro tour, Keoniís dream is to get there. But Shane is just looking for the perfect wave - and the bigger the better. After getting out of a tight spot in east Africa, the three head off to Bali, where they meet Wyatt (Shaun Thompson) a surf writer who introduces them to a highly organised group of extreme surfers to train for the big waves in Hawaii. Shane also meets Selena (Maylin Pultar); but his obsession with the ultimate wave pulls him from her and from his friends.

"It may come as a surprise to read Zalman Kingís name as director of this film. For all its seductive attraction, surfing wouldnít immediately spring to mind as a topic likely to interest the maker of Two Moon Junction and Wild Orchid. But watching In Godís Hands, the King style shows through. In the earlier films, King didnít let the story get in the way of his sex scenes - and here, he doesnít let it interfere with his surfing scenes. It must be said though that those surfing scenes are spectacular. The sight of the huge waves on the wide screen, beautifully photographed and accompanied by booming sound effects, is awesome. In common with other King films, virtually all the actors are outrageously good-looking. I donít recall seeing any flab on anyone except Selenaís father, a salty old skipper. The lead actors are also accomplished surfers. This means that the surfing action is as "real" as it gets. But it also means that the action out of the water holds considerably less interest. Despite the scriptís attempts at philosophy, much of the film comes off as pretentious - and a couple of scenes just donít work at all. Patrick Shane Dorian plays Shane with a sort of distant aloofness; but Matt George (who co-wrote the script with King) and Matthew Stephen Liu are more natural. In Godís Hands isnít an entirely compelling journey - but the sight of the surfers riding those massive waves nonetheless provides some exhilarating moments."
David Edwards

"Best known for his soft porn films (like Wild Orchid), exploitation director Zalman King tries something different with this semi-documentary surf movie. Hardly a mainstream product, it's squarely aimed at a core audience of devotees. But even if you don't belong to this tribe, you can still be awed by the epic sequences where the performers, tiny in long-shot, battle and conquer incredible thirty-foot waves. (The leads are all genuine surfers, rather than actors: no stunt doubles here.) In contrast to the usual Hollywood insistence on tight, focused storytelling, King takes a suitably laidback, negligent approach to plot and character: none of the 'dramatic' material is allowed to distract too much from the feats in the water. Following an incongruous early sequence involving a prison break, the film dissolves in a haze of tourist brochure exoticism, women in bikinis, soft-focus sunsets, homoerotic bonding and mystical Californian babble. 'We build temples to adrenalin, man!' As the heroes voyage endlessly from one coastline to the next on their quest for the ultimate wave, that moment when 'it all makes sense,' they express some of the rootless millennial longing that's almost everywhere in today's cinema, from hack action movies to Wong Kar-Wai's work: drifting between cultures and away from narrative."
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

IN GOD'S HANDS (M)
(US)

CAST: Patrick Shane Dorian, Matt George, Mathew Stephen Liu,

DIRECTOR: Zalman King

PRODUCER: Tom Stern

SCRIPT: Zalman King, Matt King

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John B. Aronson

EDITOR: James Gavin Bedford, Joe Shugart

MUSIC: Paradise

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marc Greville-Mason, Paul Holt

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 7, 1999







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