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Film Review - Hide Your Smiling Faces

31/07/2014 11:42 BST | Updated 29/09/2014 10:59 BST

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Verve Pictures

Director: Daniel Patrick Carbone

Cast: Ryan Jones, Nathan Varnson, Colm O'Leary

Genre: Drama

Language: English

Country of Origin: USA 2013 81 mins.

Rating: ****

Released by VERVE PICTURES

'An indie gem. Poetic, powerful, devoid of sentiment and with exceptional lead performances. '

'Hide Your Smiling Faces' is a powerful, gentle and captivating directorial debut.

Set in the semi-rural idyll of the 1950s American countryside, brothers nine year-old Eric (Nathan Varnson) and fourteen year-old Tommy (Ryan Jones) are in the midst of a glorious summer. The long sunny days are spent with friends exploring the woods, riding their bikes, playing the games that boys do, seeking adventure, events punctuated with boredom, fear, incessant curiosity and inevitably Tommy, being the elder frequently bullies Eric.

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Verve Pictures

The sudden and mysterious death of their friend Ian (Ivan Tomic) whose body is found at the foot of a bridge has a lasting effect on both boys and painfully shakes their youthful sense of certainty as they taste something of the adult world. From that moment the subject of death frequently comes up in the boy's conversations.

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Verve Pictures

Poetic, powerful, devoid of sentimentality with exceptional naturalistic lead performances. There's little dialogue or music. Nick Bentgen's cinematography is stunning framing the romantic beauty of the landscape and the brutality of nature. 'Hide Your Smiling Faces' captures the fragmentary nature of childhood memory and is utterly captivating. It's a remarkable debut feature.

It won't make the multiplexes but the gems often don't.

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