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Steel Toes


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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-Nazi Skinhead on trial for the racially motivated murder of an East Indian immigrant. Steel Toes takes us into the intense and fiery relationship that develops between these two men as they explore their emotional and intellectual differences.

Steel Toes is a provocative exploration of the inescapable and insidious presence of racial and religious intolerance in our society.

Review

"Explosive new drama... a provocative exploration of the inescapable and insidious presence of hatred in our society." -- The Toronto Star

"All I said after viewing this film was WOW. This is powerful movie making at its best, a rip your heart out film that grabs you from it's opening frames to its beautiful ending made this film one of the best I have seen in some time. Steel Toes is an extraordinary film that everyone must see." -- angelfire.com/pq/moviereview -VideoViews.org

"An engrossing portrayal by David Strathairn." -- Variety

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: David Strathairn, Andrew Walker, Marina Orsini, Ivan Smith
  • Directors: David Gow, Mark Adam
  • Writers: David Gow
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Monterey Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000RN87CS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,703 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Dee J. on September 1, 2007
Format: DVD
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).
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 19, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 6, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 2, 2007
Format: DVD
I was literally blown away by the performances in this movie. It is a very human drama dealing with the difficult subjects of racial prejudice intolerance, and hatred as well as forgiveness,compassion and realisation.
David Straithairn plays an attorney who despite being Jewish accepts a case defending a Skinhead accused of murder. The role of the Skinhead is played to chilling effect by Andrew Walker, whose disregard and disdain of all those he deems as 'inferior' is truly hard to watch -how can a person have that much hatred, yet very real given how polarised the world today is.

David Strathairn's Jewish lawyer is mesmerising to watch, and his inner conflict out of defending someone whom he personally abhors for all that he stands truly makes an Oscar-worthy performance. Andrew Walker's Skinhead role too is credible and deserving of praise.

What makes this movie truly special besides its controversial subject matter is the powerful dialogue, especially the conversations, often inflamed that takes place between the two main characters. It is indeed a character-driven movie and makes for a riveting watch, with plenty of lessons for all of us.
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