STEEL TOES (David Gow, Mark Adam, Canada). 100 minutes. Wednesday (May 10), 9:30 pm, Bloor. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Steel Toes is David Gow 's adaptation of his 1998 play Cherry Docs, about a Montreal Jewish lawyer (Good Night, And Good Luck's David Strathairn ) who's defending a white-supremacist skinhead ( Andrew Walker ) in a hate crime case. Gow attempts to open up the tense drama, showing glimpses into the lawyer's domestic and work life (unhappy wife, pressures to make partner) and adding a few monologues about his symbolic tallit. But the piece still feels like a talk-talk-talk play given movie-of-the-week treatment with lots of blackhead-revealing close-ups.
Strathairn, with his expressive eyes and tremulous voice, is good at suggesting confidence tinged with doubt, and he's well matched by Walker, who brings menace and danger to his role as the defendant. Still, it would have been nice to see a bit more about the skinhead's life. And would a guy with a grade 10 education really use the word "humanist"?