Hide Your Smiling Faces
Death is introduced early in this US indie, with an opening shot that features a snake ingesting its prey. Its presence then lingers through every frame that follows, as two young brothers spend a long, lazy summer staring down their own mortality after a friend takes a fatal plunge from a woodland viaduct.
Superficially, Hide’s adolescent protagonists, coming-of-age grace notes and rural setting invite comparisons with the likes of Mud and Joe, though the film to which it bears the strongest thematic resemblance is Stand by Me – albeit with the humour and bittersweet nostalgia of the earlier film replaced by a pervading solemnity. Despite its languid pacing, there’s an underlying unease that never entirely relaxes its grip – a credit to the composure of first-time writer/director Daniel Patrick Carbone. Together with cinematographer Nick Bentgen, Carbone creates a palpable sense of atmosphere, resulting in a debut as beautiful as it is troubling. [Chris Buckle]