Aug 30, 2011

BIRMINGHAM's BLACK AND WHITE Review

A Bag of Hammers (direct- ed by Brian Crano) relates a story of human foibles and unforeseen circumstances from which Michael Ritchie (Smile, The Candidate) and Bill Forsyth (Local Hero, Comfort and Joy) once gleaned comic gems. Like a scenario from an O. Henry or Damon Runyon yarn, two con artists—whose only real talent is for downright theft—find them- selves responsible for a young boy. The somewhat precocious kid has recently moved to the neighbor- hood under the unwatchful eye of his job-desperate, cruelly detached mother (Carrie Preston of “True Blood,” defining white trash). What follows is an intriguing and wholly original study of complex relation- ships, told in an alarmingly offhand and humorous manner, consider- ing the dire nature of what actually takes place. Leads Jake Sandvig and Jason Ritter are a natural pair of tragic goofs, but English actor Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Frost/Nixon) owns every scene she’s in, mainly because her eyes own the camera. Johnny Flynn’s marvelous sound- track is a near masterpiece. (A Bag of Hammers, Saturday, August 27, 12:45 p.m., Carver Theatre)