How Heavy This Hammer Screen 8 articles

How Heavy This Hammer


How Heavy This Hammer Poster
  • Whatever investigation it’s attempting, the movie is leaden in its pacing — the first 15 minutes feel like an hour — and its constricted shooting style, practically all hand-held almost close-ups, is transparent in its contrivance of realism. “How Heavy” comes off like a loose remake of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Why Does Herr R. Run Amok,” with the running amok and the why removed. For that, it deserves points for novelty, I suppose.

  • There’s a moment in Kazik Radwanski’s impressive feature debut Tower (2012) where a dentist tells thirtysomething man-child Derek (Derek Bogart), a better-adjusted, Torontonian Travis Bickle, that he has an impacted tooth coming in from the side long after most people’s wisdom teeth cease to bother them. Radwanski looks to another late bloomer with his just as well-observed How Heavy This Hammer.

  • The film remains without judgment, forming a story nearly recursive in structure and almost stifling in how little we see beyond Erwin’s lumbering movements. Such a small story, such an average person to spend time with—this is something no television show would attempt, no mid-tier festival film dare gamble their eligibility for an audience award on. Yet here it is: quiet, a bit pensive, a bit mysterious, and never less than thoughtful. The kind of film you love to discover at a festival.

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    4:3: Ian Barr
    September 18, 2015 | Toronto | Critic's Rating: Recommended

    Radwanski’s depiction of Erwin’s ordinariness is so concentrated and intense to the point that we’re led to see nothing but ourselves in his predicament. And that is as close to a concrete definition of empathetic filmmaking that I can offer.

  • With an uncommon sensitivity to the plight of his characters and a feel for unspoken heartache that brings the viewer into direct communion, both visually and thematically, with the nuances of unmoored psychology, Radwanski has crafted a humorous and moving portrait of a good-natured man whose wayward path prompts an unintended reckoning.

  • How Heavy This Hammer might be emerging Canadian director Radwanski’s finest work thus far.

  • It’s Radwanski’s directorial approach—nothing flashy but always formally thoughtful—that makes this minimal story into something memorable and affecting, and refreshingly unhip in contrast with so much of in the indie fare we see too often. How Heavy This Hammer seems to be driven sincerely by human compassion and curiosity, and firmly establishes Radwanski as one of Canada’s best working filmmakers.

  • Striking, clear-eyed, and very, very funny, it's been justly celebrated as one of the best Canadian films in years.

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