- Hands that Bind
- Written and directed by Kyle Armstrong
- Starring Bruce Dern, Paul Sparks and Nicholas Campbell
- Classification N/A; 116 minutes
- Opens in select theatres Nov. 3
An exercise in mental and emotional claustrophobia, Kyle Armstrong’s new Canadian drama Hands that Bind succeeds beautifully at examining the social trappings of toxic masculinity, poverty and the desperation created by both.
When farmhand Andy (Paul Sparks) learns that the troubled son (Landon Liboiron) of his long-time boss will be taking over the family business, so begins Andy’s steady undoing. As he struggles to maintain any semblance of control over his family and circumstances, viewers bear witness to his valiant effort to maintain a pained and narrow definition of manhood.
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Cerebral and slow-burning, the film delves into the mythos surrounding what makes a man while tackling the binary of “us” versus “them.” Sparks’s understated albeit commanding turn as the strong, silent Andy works in tandem alongside Armstrong’s yellowed sceneries and desolate landscapes.
Together with strong supporting performances by Nicholas Campbell, Bruce Dern, and Susan Kent, Hands that Bind delivers a shattering answer to one character’s cursed question, “What kind of man would I be?”