“Hide Your Smiling Faces”
Criticwire Average: B
It’s not uncommon for first-time filmmakers to lean heavily on their influences in their first films – just look at how in debt Paul Thomas Anderson’s first films are to Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman. But it can be fascinating to see how a director’s personality can shine through the stylistic tics of the filmmakers they borrow from. For an example, look to this week’s sleeper, Daniel Patrick Carbone’s feature-length debut “Hide Your Smiling Faces.”
The film, about two brothers who are pushed to consider their own mortality after the death of a friend, is heavily influenced by early films of David Gordon Green, particularly Green’s breakthrough “George Washington.” Yet the film has a quiet menace of its own, and even critics who find it a bit too derivative to be blown away have noted Carbone’s terrific eye.
“Hide Your Smiling Faces” is available on VOD.
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
Matt Barone, Complex Media
A quiet, unnerving little character study that hits hard when it’s least expected.
Mike D’Angelo, The Dissolve
Thankfully, Carbone has a superb eye, and he does allow for playful moments here and there—one conversation between Tommy and a friend, which appears at first to be yet another death debate (“So you don’t wonder what it feels like?” “Well, sometimes I do. How about you?”), turns out to be about kissing, which they then hilariously practice on each other with a sheet of cellophane between their lips. All in all, “Smiling Faces” is a strongly promising first effort, introducing a talented filmmaker who’s still in the process of finding his own voice. Still, don’t be too surprised if, three or four features down the road, it retroactively looks much more singular. Read more.
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
Slightly opaque on the surface, what’s actually the case is that this mature, startling-composed drama just never deigns to spell things out, giving time for your imagination to fill in the breathing room, spaces of which this movie has plenty. It’s never obvious…The devil is not in the details, he’s in the mood, and that creates an unsettling sense of disquiet in a movie that’s far more concerned with showing you things than telling you how to feel. Read more.
Don Simpson, Smells Like Screen Spirit
They explore long-abandoned structures, play with dead animals, swim in dingy lakes, aim [possibly loaded] guns at each other, stand eye-to-eye with a bear, and wrestle without any adult supervision. It may all seem a magical capturing of adolescence, but there is a menacing air (thanks to Robert Donne’s eerie score) that seems to be following the kids around. Read more.