How Heavy This Hammer

Follows a middle-aged married man who finds his only outlet is online gaming.


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  • ★★★★ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd

    mindful, melancholic

    motions making way for

    massive monotony; manic

    (and maddening) masculinity.

  • ★★★½ review by Patrick Devitt on Letterboxd

    Kazik Radwanski’s How Heavy This Hammer is definitely one to look out for this year at the Toronto International Film Festival. Clocking in at just over an hour, Toronto-filmmaker Kazik Radwanski does a wonderful of depicting a married man that is grappling with the concept of acting like an adult. Erwin Van Cotthem does a marvelous job of playing our lead character, who also shares the same name. His character showcases all of the things our parents taught us not to do as a child. He incessantly plays video games to the point where his wife has to force him to step away from the game to come and have dinner with them. This is certainly not one to miss.

  • ★★★½ review by preston on Letterboxd

    Opening shot is misleading, classical music playing over a close-up of a sad-sack, middle-aged, obviously (or stereotypically) working-class bloke. Clearly going to be a case of the dignity reclaimed in everyday lives, Ken Loach-style - but it turns out the jowly, sad-looking bloke isn't staring soulfully into space after a hard day at the plant or whatever (it's not clear that he even has a job) but playing a video game, and it also turns out he's emotionally immature, prone to lashing out and neglecting his responsibilities, living a grossly unhealthy life (is he counting down to a heart attack? is that the movie?). Eventually, almost by process of elimination, the film's true subject bubbles to the surface - which is his foreignness, glimpsed in the foreign (Flemish) songs with which he sings along in the car, though they're otherwise unremarked-upon, and the foreign sport (rugby) he stubbornly plays on weekends, though he's obviously unfit; and of course it's also foreignness from his family, the culture, human relationships in general. Good stuff, constantly testing our investment in the lead character, and the stylized claustrophobia helps (the film is almost entirely in close-up, in the style of the Dardennes in The Son only more so) though the low budget shows e.g. in the casting of the boys, good little Canadians who seem unacquainted with their dad, let alone related to him. But maybe that's the point.

  • ★★★★ review by 🌱socialqueues🌾 on Letterboxd

    Makes me want to eat vegetables and do responsible things.

    This movie peers closely at its subject without sacrificing ambiguity, picking up on his flaws without expressing judgment. The fact that this only just got theatrical distribution stateside is a damn shame, and I hope this movie finds the champion it deserves.

  • ★★★½ review by C.J. on Letterboxd

    A film almost entirely in close-ups that had me begging the camera to take a breather (in a good way, of course). Takes the cliches of indie/low budget filmmaking and turns it on its head by shoving you right in the face of a family's slow, quietly devastating dissolution of a family that plays out with a naturalism that pierces straight through. Needless to say, I'm currently kicking myself for missing out on the chance to see Tower a few weeks ago.

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