Its 7:54 pm
Its been a LONG time since we have had a chance to review a film of sorts from British filmmaker Darren James King. But he is back and has released a film he co-wrote with Kieran Bourne called “Soft Hands”.
“Soft Hands” shows the struggle of a young college student is having trouble with bullies and his own father simply because he is gay.
Starting with being pelted with eggs,Kieran (Cameron Bell) and his boyfiend Jay (Ray Whelan) are saved by Kieran’s grandfather who wants to know why this is happening.
The grandfather knows but he wants to see what Kieran has to say and when he somewhat admits that he and Jay “are different”,his grandfather acknowledges it and allows he wasn’t always so accepting.
Kieran’s home life isn’t much better,he hasn’t come out to his family because his father’s own bigotry and Kieran’s feeling of always letting his dad down. George (Dean Kilbey) has his own past demons and has created a hard “manly” shell around himself.
Father and son don’t speak and the tension in the home is starting to spike.
Kieran and Jay are targeted at university as well which includes Jay being beaten in a bathroom. One of Kieran’s professors sees whats going on and she attempts to help but Kieran’s rebuffs her.
With pressure mounting from all sides,somehow father and son must heal the wounds between them before they lose more then their pride.
This is a complex story to tell and in the wrong hands,could have turned sappy and gooey. But King and Bourne don’t play it safe and allow “Soft Hands” to resolve itself truthfully and in many aspects,painfully. Intolerence,pride and bigotry can create huge gaps that unless addressed,can destroy any relationships.
Bell and Kilbey lead a solid cast that really make “Soft Hands” so powerful. The only issue I had is the setting where the bullying takes place,while I could see this at a high school or off campus…I doubt any college,especially in today’s world,would tolerate such open attacks and would swiftly move to have these students dealt with. And having a guy kiss a girl to “prove he isn’t gay” also smacks of high school and not a college setting.
Danny Williams,who plays the lead bully does a excellent job because I wanted to do was kick him in balls about 10 times…a sign his acting was very effective. Which also means that he probably is a nice guy in real life.
King’s directing is also very good,the story flows very well and everyone is given a turn to shine. What I really liked is that King was given the time to present his story,”Soft Hands” has a run time of 30 minutes and while it could have been lengthend and not lost anything,it could not have been shorter without hurting it.
Over all,I liked “Soft Hands” and after it completes its festival run,I’ll post the short film here..
I give “Soft Hands” two thumbs up.