Photo Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

Jimmy Smallhorne directs, cowrites, and stars in this raw, visceral portrait of the immigrant experience rarely seen by outsiders. Rejecting the traditional portrayal of warm and humorous Irishmen working merrily on construction sites, 2by4 shows real men in conflict with the freedom and anonymity of New York life.

Smallhorne portrays Johnny, who lives in the Bronx and works construction for his Uncle Trump. He runs a wild and raucous crew of Irish immigrants, who install sheetrock in Manhattan by day and spend their hard-earned money in the neighborhood pub at night. He has a girlfriend he loves, good mates, and the respect of his community, but demons plague him. Something is not right. His half-remembered past is oozing to the surface as full-blown memories, sending him into a downward spiral and plunging him into a netherworld of sexual ambiguity, violence, and substance abuse.

Common advice given to any beginning filmmaker is never act in a film you are directing. I have to add, "Unless you are Jimmy Smallhorne." As director, he never flinches in his vivid examination of this community. He surrounds himself with a mixture of "real people" and seasoned professionals who combine with the cinematography and editing docustyle to make 2by4 even more raw and emotional. As for Johnny, it is impossible to imagine anyone else portraying him so well. As if drawing from an ancestral history of poetry and storytelling, Smallhorne uses all his talents to make us feel for a complex soul in turmoil.

- John Cooper

Directed by: Jimmy Smallhorne
Starring: Jimmy Smallhorne, Chris O'Neill, Bradley Fitts

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