Will Patton and Mark O’Brien play a father and son on the run in Hammer, a sophomore feature from writer/director Christian Sparkes (Cast No Shadow).  It’s Breaking Bad meets Beautiful Boy.

When a drug deal turns into a violent double crossing, Chris (Mark O’Brien) finds himself on the run from Adams (Ben Cotton), the client he’s duped.  While in pursuit, Chris is caught by his father Stephen (Will Patton), who has an instinctual urge to help his estranged son despite being burned before.  With the help of his Dad, Chris tries to trace back to his secluded injured partner Lori (Dayle McLeod) and his loot-filled duffel bags.  Meanwhile, Adams finds and kidnaps Chris’ brother Jeremy (Connor Price) to gain leverage towards Chris’ whereabouts and surrender.

Hammer takes place over the course of a single day, and Christian Sparkes does a remarkable job maintaining uninterrupted tension.  His script, however isn’t as consistent.  Sparkes goes too heavy on metaphors (I nearly choked on my drink when Chris and Stephen find a snake in the brush literally eating its own tail) and he deviates too often from the main plot to focus on smaller standoffs.  While these tangents add to the anxious atmosphere, they draw audiences away from the deeper dynamic between Chris and Stephen;  especially since the minimalist scenes showing the men on the road hashing out their past are great character pieces for the actors.

Judging by Hammer, Christian Sparkes will nail it as a filmmaker very soon.  This is a decent thriller and a solid rebound from his drab debut Cast No Shadow.


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