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The Independent Critic

Doug Bradley, Phil Gwilliam
Mike Clarke
Paul McGowan
12 Mins.

 "A Hand to Play" Stars Doug Bradley 
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If you have any doubt that an actor can truly make a difference in a film, then all you need to do is watch the short film A Hand to Play starring an absolutely terrific Doug Bradley. Bradley, known to audiences far and wide for his appearances in the Hellraiser films, is both chilling and charming as Mr. Trent, an employer with the kind of aura that practically screams out "Don't mess with me." Joe (Phil Gwilliam) does mess with him, a decision that lands him with his hand strapped to a table facing the wrath of someone determined to prove it was a very bad choice. 

This 12-minute crime thriller is filled with suspense and anxiety courtesy of a calm yet pointed script from screenwriter Paul McGowan and the sharp, disciplined direction of Mike Clarke. While the film seems like it's going to play out predictably, both McGowan and Clarke weave together some terrific touches before a well played climax. 

Clarke lenses the film with an uneasy comfort that you just know is deceptive, while Chris Cronin's editing may seem relaxed but it fits the film's tone quite nicely. Joel Catchatoor's original music adds to the tension quite nicely. 

A Hand to Play is just getting its start on the film festival circuit and should have no problem finding a home amongst indie and horror film festivals. 

 Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic   

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    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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