Show of Hands

Show of Hands


No doubt looking to emulate the success of homegrown hit Second Hand Wedding is this comedy-drama about a bunch of people who enter an endurance contest to win a car - whoever keeps their hands on it the longest wins. Billed as a 'tale of desperation, determination, and love', Show Of Hands pits these Kiwi characters against each other and tests which inner motivation will prove the stronger. Stars Kiwi great Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, Coyote Ugly) and Craig Hall (TV's Outrageous Fortune), with music by Don McGlashan.

Flicks Review

The question on my mind before seeing this film was not whether or not its characters could withstand an endurance competition to win a car, but whether a feature-length film about such a topic could sustain my interest. Ninety minutes later, the answer is yes, but only just.

Melanie Lynskey, Craig Hall and Stephen Lovatt do their job well, despite thin source material. It's unfortunate that Lynskey’s character remains limp throughout – either crying or looking forlorn until the credits roll. In the end she lost my sympathy. And Lovatt's car dealer is part of a weak unresolved sub-plot that only takes our attention away from the contestants.

Despite this, director Anthony McCarten keeps things ticking along with some clever editing, in particular the disorientating bits as the participants grow tired. He manages to inject enough variation into the action (during the contestant's meal and toilet breaks, especially) to keep things interesting.

To ramp up the drama, Don McGlashan has been enlisted to provide some melancholic music. It's a bit soppy in parts but just about does the trick. We also get a deep-voiced radio host providing some rumbling voice-of-God narration.

I'd suggest that Show of Hands attempts to be a symbolic, metaphorical examination of greed and selflessness, but doesn't quite convince. It takes itself a bit too seriously for a movie about people trying to keep their hands on a car. But it's likeable and pleasant enough. It's good to see Lynskey back in New Zealand, and Hall is an appealing actor too.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 8 ratings, 9 reviews
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I live near in New Plymouth and was amazed to see some of the places I usually go past. CC Ward, where my mum and neighbour goes shopping for clothes,
Snax in the city (a dairy in Down Town New Plymouth)and parts of Centre City, a shopping centre in Central
New Plymouth. I'm glad that this movie showed a bit of Taranaki!

Show of Hands is one of the best films that I have ever seen. It was brilliantly filmed, and with a very unique storyline. I especially liked the character of Tom: his deep cynicism and bitterness towards shallow people made him unlike any other character in any text that I have come across before. I greatly appreciated this, and thought the subtle resolution at the end was particularly well done.

In my mind, the film is a modern adaptation of "They shoot horses don't they?" replacing the dance marathon with a standing marathon. This isn't a bad thing the orriginal was a classic. Similar features abound: hallucinations from sleep deprivation, short lived romances, recession driven needs. I wonder If the author of this screen play had been influenced by the classic?

Show of Hands is what could come the closest to cinematic torture.
It's weak, the music is either childish or stereotypically classical (i'm amazed they didn't use the Winter part of the Four "national Bank" seasons).
Sometimes it looks like it's been shot on mini dv - and i'm not talking about the bits that pretend to be shot on mini dv.
The story is boring, the characters are stereotypes after stereotypes: the fat polynesian, the old and wise dude (well, actually not that wise or he would not... More have stopped taking his pills for the contest, but finally we can cry), the young arrogant, the New Plymouth blonde tart, etc etc.

This is probably the worst kiwi movie i've ever seen.
It looks like a tv film. The scene flow is clumsy.Hide

I saw this film expecting cutesy Kiwiana like Second Hand Wedding or Number 7, or even We're here to help you. Couldn't have been more wrong. There is a real story, well developed and with a couple of unexpected twists in the plot, right up until the end. True, there was also the expected romantic "odd couple" happy ending, but that was fun too. Brilliantly casted and acted, and ultimately, convincing. This really compares with the best of other major film producing countries' work. Should... More definitely get an award for "Best Foreign Film" somewhere like CannesHide

Showing 5 of 9 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

  • But the real genius behind this film is ... well maybe it's us and whatever our national character might be. Because whatever it is, films such as Show of Hands are beginning to distil it and get it up on the screen. This is a cracker little film. Do go. Full Review

  • McCarten's smart plotting maintains the tension well (there is a clever twist at the climax) and the performances - in particular Lovatt's as the sleazy car dealer whose idea the whole thing is - are good. It's a matter of debate, though, whether the characters are interesting enough for the length of a feature. Full Review

  • Melanie Lynskey, probably our best actress and certainly one of the most appealing, plays Jess, a really, really nice and decent New Plymouth single mother and parking warden with the cutest freckles. Full Review

  • There is plenty to like about this film, and while it does tend towards talking itself a little too seriously at the end, the story is an engaging one. Full Review

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