Give Me Your Hand (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/04/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 80 mins

Beautifully shot, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging French drama with terrific performances from Alexandre and Victor Carril.

What's it all about?
Directed by Pascal-Alex Vincent, Give Me Your Hand (or Donne-moi la main, original title fans) opens with a short animated sequence that introduces its two central characters, identical twins Antoine and Quentin (Alexandre and Victor Carril), as they decide to hitch-hike from France to Spain in order to attend the funeral of their estranged mother. It's immediately apparent that Antoine is the more out-going of the two (picking up girls, jumping in front of trains etc) while Quentin is more introspective, preferring to spend time with his sketchbook.

However, when the boys run out of money and have to take a job on a farm, Antoine is disturbed when he sees Quentin having an affair with male co-worker Hakim (Samir Harrag). And when Antoine cruelly ditches Quentin, he soon regrets his actions as he drifts into a series of increasingly weird encounters.

The Good
Alexandre and Victor Carril are both excellent as the two leads and it's hard not to be reminded of their British equivalents, Harry and Luke Treadaway (Brothers of the Head). Fortunately, Vincent gives Antoine a scar and a slightly different hairstyle so we can tell them apart.

There's also strong support from Samir Harrag and from Anais Demoustier (as the first of the girls picked up by Antoine, who ends up joining them for a while and sleeping with both brothers), while Katrin Sass makes a strong impression as a woman Antoine meets on a train after he's ditched Quentin.

The Great
The film is beautifully shot, with striking cinematography courtesy of Alexis Kavyrchine. There's also minimal dialogue (making the film reminiscent of Gus Van Sant's Gerry), but Vincent cleverly explores thought-provoking themes of identity and sexuality through the brothers' interactions with each other and with the people they meet.

Vincent's direction is superb throughout, to the point where you don't quite realise how much it's got under your skin until the two brothers are separated (the camera always stays with Antoine) and you keenly feel Antoine's weird and unsettling sense of loss.

Worth seeing?
This is a beautifully made, thought-provoking and ultimately moving film that marks both the Carril brothers and director Pascal-Alex Vincent out as talents to watch. Well worth seeking out.

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Content updated: 30/07/2014 18:10

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