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Film, Album, Single and Event Reviews

Film Review: Hide Your Smiling Faces (2013)

  • By gregw
  • 4 Aug 2014
  • Release Date 4 Aug 2014

Director: Daniel Patrick Carbone

Duration: 81 mins (US)

There is a certain kind of hidden, sinister, violent undertone to the Eden-like verdant splendour of the American south, and it consistently feels like a promising base for creepy dramatic exploration. Of course, it has been visited with almost definitive execution in Deliverance (1972), which, whilst conjuring broad stereotypes that suffocated any measure of balance and fairness, provided a chilling post-script warning for audience goers. It was one to chill the bones.

Drenched in the sprawling, chaotic and untamed viridescent vegetation of its topography, the setting of Hide Your Smiling Faces offsets in geography a perfect analogy for the wild contortions of its key community of inhabitants. This is a very patriarchal society, and the establishment of place and power rides as the predominant key to existence. Two adolescent brothers go on a journey of discovery and we follow them for the ride. 

In terms of tone, this very much feels like a timely companion piece to Nicholas Cage’s Joe (2014) but sadly lacks a killer punch. There is an unfulfilled promise that lies untapped and without resolve. Maybe this is deliberate, but for all the portent, the pay-off is shy of satisfying. It is a similar sensation as that experienced with Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), where resolution to the crescendo was robbed from the piece.

There is a success in the atmosphere conjured by director Daniel Patrick Carbone and cinematographer Nick Bentgen. They capture the restless aggression that can be borne from boredom. This evokes a Lord of the Flies-like hierarchical battle. It is just a pity it doesn't much that text's highs.

2.5/5

Hide Your Smiling Faces is in cinemas from 1st August.

Here is the trailer:


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