Hide Your Smiling Faces falls under the coming of age genre that will always resonate for audiences. Whether you watch with a sense of past nostalgia or current sympathy, its an eternal genre. With this first time directors début, Hide Your Smiling Faces, you get an atmospheric and stylishy realistic youth encounter. Sadly, the films lack of story makes it fall short of its beautiful cinematography and talented young cast.
The film is the début of director Daniel Patrick Carbone and is inspired by his real life experiences. After directing short film, Feral, he was given the chance to write and direct his first feature.
The film focuses on the relationship and experiences of the two brother. With the exception of Ian's death this is a merely observational work that strings together moments rather than a progressing plot. Although the film does have touching moments of real depth, this lack of plot leaves it underachieving. With the absence of plot the film lacks any real pace and at one hour twenty minutes, despite its best intentions, it lags.
Although the films lack of story will turn off some audiences the look and ascetic of the film is brilliantly accomplished. The setting is deep in America's rural outback creating isolation from the opening. The director has fully used the beautiful landscape for his young actors to wonder through.
Nathan Varnson potrays the older of the siblings Eric. His discovery of a young boys body and his friends morbid assassination with death leads to his deconstruction. Eric deals with his journey into adulthood through acts of violence and vandalism, while his brother handles his confusions alone or in Eric's shadow.
Ryan Jones portrays Tommy the younger brother. His innocence is in such contrast to his older brother but still Jones gives a emotional performance. The loss of his friend affects him differently as he carries the weight of what happened beforehand. The chemistry between the boys is electric and the change in their relationship after Ian's death is brilliantly displayed. Despite emotional performances from its two leads the film still crys out for a plot.
A film that aims to do what Stand By Me did so well but comes up wanting. Beautifully shot with a talented young cast but its lack of story leaves it a underwhelming experience. Still the film demonstrates brilliant potential for new comer director Daniel Patrick Carbone.
Hide Your Smiling Faces is out Friday 1st of August