His Hands is a short psychological silent thriller running at 13 minutes. This story sees two strangers, both at the opposite ends of the age scale, meeting during a peculiar encounter. There is no dialogue, but instead the film focuses on the sound, music and cinematography to capture the audience’s imagination and emphasis its main themes – which are loneliness, isolation, acceptance and identity.
Writer, Director and Producer Darius Shu says “It’s open to interpretation” which is exactly what the audience gets – an almost blank canvas to play with. For this film there is no rule of who the good or bad guy is or what the narrative is telling us. The audience is allowed to make that decision for themselves. The editing and directing are brilliant. With a budget of only £400, this independent film has clearly used every penny wisely. I’ve seen worse films with a much bigger budget. (It’s not how much you have but it’s what you do with it that matters).
Alongside Darius Shu, Arron Blake also directed, wrote and produced the film but he also starred in it alongside the equally talented Philip Brisebois. The acting from Brisebois and Blake is impressive and even with no lines the story is clear to see. It’s all in the emotions and the physicality shown in their connection with each other and the way they communicate through looks and touch. We start to think who are they to each other? Are they father and son? A carer and patient? Who are they and what do they want? Some of the scenes are beautifully written. It shows us how to be free and that we should be accepting who we really are.
As the film goes on, just when you think their relationship is going well, it starts to follow a dark and ugly path. The film relies heavily on dramatic silhouettes which create a mood of eeriness and mystery that often makes you shudder. The fairy tale soon becomes twisted and obscure. It’s alarming at first but soon becomes exciting and you’re automatically enthralled as to what’s happening next. However, 13 minutes felt like 3 as the film soon came to an end just when I least thought it would (annoying but effective).
The score and soundtrack that accompany the film are dramatic and beautiful. They guide the audience through the story of the film and prove that not all good films need a dialogue. The sounds used within the film are well matched and go hand in hand with the themes throughout. They are suspenseful, elegant and emotional. Special credit should go to sound designer Chas Langston for making these sounds come to life.
His Hands is nominated for Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival 2019 and is currently now streaming on Amazon Prime in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.