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Steel Toes
Steel Toes
Actors: David Strathairn, Andrew Walker, Marina Orsini, Ivan Smith
Directors: David Gow, Mark Adam
Genres: Drama
R     2007     1hr 27min

Rage and intolerance collide with compassion Academy-Award® nominated David Strathairn portrays Danny Dunkleman, a Jewish liberal humanist, and the court-appointed lawyer representing Mike Downey (Andrew Walker), a Neo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Strathairn, Andrew Walker, Marina Orsini, Ivan Smith
Directors: David Gow, Mark Adam
Creators: Benoit Groulx, David Gow, Susan Shanks
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/04/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Powerful stuff - a little scary to watch!
Dee J. | 09/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Steel Toes starts off with a hard-to-watch, rather terrifying scene and goes on to explore the rage inside a man many of us might like to see given the electric chair for his crime. I'm a big fan of David Strathairn and his performance here as a lawyer is nothing less than I expected. An A+ film that I would recommend to anyone (except children)."
"I Hope That He Finds A Better Road To Walk"
H. F. Corbin | ATLANTA, GA USA | 09/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When liberal Jewish lawyer Danny Duckelman (David Strathairn of "Good Night and Good Luck fame) is appointed to represent a neo-Nazi skinhead Michael Downey (Andrew W. Walker), to say that sparks will fly is a trite, gross understatement. The screen practically self-ignites as these two individuals have a battle of the wills in Director David Gow's (along with Mark Adam) brilliant movie adaptation "Steel Toes" of his critically acclaimed play "Cherry Docs" (the name of the Dr Marten steel-toed boots worn by skinheads). Mike is incarcerated for attacking an Indian restaurant worker-- for no apparent reason other than his nationality-- by stomping him with his steel-toed boots. The man later dies from internal bleeding but not before he foregives his attacker in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes from the movie and wishes for him that he "finds a better road to walk."

Even though some of the scenes between Danny and Mike are what we would expect from two people whose views of the world are so different, the movie never, ever becomes a cliche. Even though the director says in an interview included with the DVD version of this film that he opened up action from the two-man stage version, adding other characters and scenes of the racially diverse neighborhood where Danny lives with his wife in Montreal as well as moving scenes from a cemetery where he says that six generations of his own family are buried, the film is still essentially about Danny and Mike and the interactions between them.

Perhaps what engages the viewer most in this emotionally powerful and explosive film as the two men engage in shouting match after shouting match--"at one point, Danny screams at Mike: "it's not your eye color, sweetheart"-- is the subtle changes that come over both men. Mike in the beginning hates Danny, along with all other "Zionists" and would kill them all if he could while Danny, for his part, certainly has no love for this skinhead with multiple tattoos either. When Mike yells at Danny to hit him, he responds that "if I started hitting you, I might not be able to stop." Both actors are superb and become the characters they portray in a film that was finished-- unbelievably-- in 19 days of shooting. (The director and producer of films like "Cleopatra" should take notice.)

I would not say that this movie will entertain you. On the other hand, you'll be hard put to find one that has more to say about racial hatred and diversity. It may upset you but you will not soon forget it. It is simply one of the best things I've seen in a very long time.

A superbly performed exploration of racial and religious int
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 08/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Starring Academy Award nominee David Strathairn and Whistler Film Festival 'Best Actor' award winner Andrew Walker, "Steel Toes" is a film about a Jewish liberal humanist appointed by the court to defend a Neo-Nazi Skinhead on trail for the racially motivated murder of an East Indian immigrant. This is a full color, 90-minute film of intense issues and relationships between such diverse men as they explore their emotional and intellectual differences. The DVD format allows for the addition of features that include 'Meet the film's Creators (David Gow, Perri Gorrara, Michel-Paul Belisle), interviews with David Strathairn and Andrew Walker, a Theatrical Trailer, and Selected Biographies. A superbly performed exploration of racial and religious intolerance in contemporary society, "Steel Toes" is a confidently recommended addition to community library DVD collections as a film of immense social relevance, viewer engagement, and flawless performance."
David Gow's Powerful Play Transfers to Screen with Tremendou
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"STEEL TOES is yet another low budget, independent film that unfortunately will not find the large audience it so justly deserves except by word of mouth publicity. It is available now as a DVD, complete with significant extra features, and is one of the more powerful statements about hate crimes, understanding intolerance, and the journey toward compassion this viewer has seen. It is adapted from the original play by its author, David Gow, and benefits from the fact that David Strathairn, who created the role on stage in Philadelphia, and repeats his performance on screen, subtly embodies the lead character Danny Dunkelman.

The title, STEEL TOES, is derived from the name of the combat boots worn by Skinheads, the band of racially intolerant men who strive to re-enact the tenets of Nazi theories. The film opens in Montreal with a group of these warriors, led by Mike (Andrew Walker in a career-making performance) who gruesomely kicks an Indian man repeatedly for no apparent reason except racial hatred. Mike is arrested, placed in prison, and faces a charge of homicide when the hospitalized Indian man dies of his wounds. Danny Dunkelman is the court appointed lawyer assigned to defend Mike. Danny is Jewish and acknowledges a loathing for Skinheads and it is the confrontation between Danny and Mike that polarizes the story between two men who innately hate the symbol each stands for. Danny is a committed humanist and tries to overcome his prejudice by carefully preparing Mike for hi courtroom appearance. Likewise, Mike for the first time begins to gain insight into the misguided life he has chosen, finding Danny a man whose compassion shows through his belief system and is the only chance Mike has for avoiding a long prison term for manslaughter. One key and poignant aspect of the case is the document the Indian man made before he died, a statement of his loss of sight, ability to walk or sit resulting form the brutal beating he received from Mike, and yet it is a call for compassion and forgiveness he makes just before he dies. Danny repeatedly makes Mike read this document until a change occurs - a climax in a story and in a relationship that is one of the more significantly powerful ever filmed.

This is essentially a two-character story, though in making it cinematically fleshed out some additional characters are added. But the impact of the story comes shining through the economy of the prison cell set and from the impeccable performances by both Strathairn and Walker. It is a brilliant work of writing, acting, directing, filming and sound that bespeaks the strongest aspects of committed ensemble work. It is quite frankly a film everyone who cares about the future of humanity should see. If there is any justice in the industry it will not be overlooked at Oscar time. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, September 07"