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Two Fists, One Heart

Delving into multiculturalism and using aggression to settle scores, Two Fists, One Heart tackles many themes. Written and starring former boxer Rai Fazio, it examines how cultural make-up affects the decisions we make. How we come to terms with our up-bringing elevates a generally interesting tale despite a sometimes clichéd concept.
Anthony (Daniel Amalm) is a young professional boxer trained by his father Joe (Ennio Fantastichini).  Raised in a traditional Italian family, Anthony’s embrace of local values occasionally contradict Joe’s ethnic principles.  Events begin to peak when Anthony meets Kate (Jessica Marais), an Aussie girl who shows him another side to life. Discarding boxing in order to search for his own purpose, this creates a chasm between both men where each other’s determination to forge their own legacy threatens to destroy their once solid bond.
At the story’s core is the impact cultural identity has in our lives.  This has become increasingly potent with the advent of electronic media such as cinema and television where the ability to relate to our peers becomes magnified.  Whole generations have now become accustomed to society’s many facets including the vicious cycle of violence in which the characters live.  Anthony’s gradual shift from under his father’s shadow begins the deconstruction of his tendency for hostile confrontations with boxing’s fierce methods ingrained from a young age.  In Joe we see a man living out his failed dreams through his son, whose refusal to adapt to his adoptive country potentially has the ability to alienate those around him.
In spite of descending into Rocky-style theatrics complete with a familiar conclusion, Two Fists, One Heart maintains engagement.  This is due to the well defined characters and the relatable circumstances in which they live.  The talented cast give consistently fine performances, with Daniel Amalm successfully moving between his character’s brutality and charm with ease.  Perhaps a little rough around the edges, Rai Fazio’s screenplay nevertheless clearly spells out its intentions with his writing marking him as a talent to watch.
Emotionally raw and confronting, Two Fists, One Heart is an insightful composition in breaking free of one’s familial binds.  Whilst some recent local films have been disappointments, this isn’t one of them with its aspirations mirroring its characters desire for new beginnings.
Rating out of 10:  7 

Duplicity

Information is one of the world’s fervent commodities.  Its use can lead to success or failure for individuals desiring to reach the top.  In a new century where the Cold War has long past and traditional spies have seemingly been put on ice, the art of espionage thrives. As corporations like those seen in Duplicity zealously grab the chances of competitive brinkmanship, it’s their footsoldiers who dirty themselves as favours for their immaculately suited employers.
Tired of the low wage of government intelligence former agents and lovers Claire (Julia Roberts) and Ray (Clive Owen) enter the domain of commercial surveillance.  Both working for rival soap firms desperate to obtain a new formula their paths cross once more.  Re-igniting the spark whilst pursuing a common agenda, their passion is almost overwhelmed as the stakes and double-crosses reach boiling point.
Owing more than a passing nod to the classic Robert Redford/Paul Newman film The Sting, Duplicity delivers on its caper trappings.  Although not in the same league, Roberts and Owen make a good couple whose penchant for deception stands in the way of their fine romance.  This love-lorn angle is reasonably mixed into a tale of high stakes with master manipulators becoming the ultimate victors. Energetically directed by Tony Gilmour, the story-line is enlightened with crackling dialogue and fine supporting performances from Tom Willkinson and Paul Giamatti as ruthless company bosses.
More interested in exploring the leads romantic entanglements, making Duplicity watchable is its depiction of big business.  Not only is there a constant need to exceed their best but also to maintain power.  In a way, these corporate denizens are like the feudal lords of old who, in place of obtaining land, take over more business to further their influence.  The script mostly expresses this quite well despite the scattering of flashbacks throughout the narrative undermining the good work. 
Duplicity is a very amiable romp making the most of the talents.  It further defines how such conglomerates have replaced traditional cinematic villains for audience’s displeasure.  Maybe not the film to brighten their status, Duplicity proves the spying game’s modus operandi can easily adapt in any new situation.
Rating out of 10:  7