Hide Your Smiling Faces marks the début of Daniel Patrick Carbone. It’s a bold take on childhood, growing-up, loss and a film that shies away from sentimentality; in short it’s no Stand By Me.
Eric and Tommy are brothers living in the idyllic, American countryside. They spend their days being mischievous and getting up to boyish hijinks with their friends. However, when their friend, Ian, mysteriously dies from an unexplained fall, their world is turned upside down.
Hide Your Smiling Faces unfolds will an assured self-confidence that is rare in a début film, but, with that said, Carbone’s film quickly wares on your patience with its languid narrative and pacing, so perhaps that confidence is arrogance.
While it isn’t necessary for every film to explain everything, it would be nice to at least see the film’s characters questioning Ian’s death. The characters accept the mysterious death, barely raising an eyebrow before getting on with their lives.
Carbone’s narrative might be uninspired stuff but his camera work is exuberant, I particularly enjoyed the shots of the boys on their bikes – the camera following them fluidly. Whether they’re motorcycles or bicycles, both lend themselves perfectly to the artificial eye and clearly Carbone understands this.
The cinematography, in general, is of a very high standard, so I’m not surprised there was much hype about this film prior to it’s screening at the 57th BFI London Film Festival.
Hide Your Smiling Faces is often beautiful to gaze upon, so it’s just a shame that it’s so tedious. Still, Carbone is a director to watch, even if his début isn’t.
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Hide Your Smiling Faces was screened at the 57th BFI London Film Festival and its release date is TBA.