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Heartless (2009)

  Tags: Clémence Poésy, Dibbuk Box, Eddie Marsan, gangs, hell, Jim Sturgess, Jon Macmillan, Joseph Mawle, Luke Treadaway, Matador Pictures, Noel Clarke, Philip Ridley, Timothy Spall

Your rating: None Average: 6.3 (7 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

heartless.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Philip Ridley
Runtime: 
114
Cast: 
Jim Sturgess, Clémence Poésy, Noel Clarke, Joseph Mawle, Timothy Spall, Eddie Marsan, Luke Treadaway, Jon Macmillan


Heartless is a film that explores a more psychological and emotional approach within the genre, giving us more dramatic elements and character development than what we usually encounter in horror, and I personally liked the direction it took. The movie is a nice break from the usual dull and predictable tripe we get now-a-days, especially in the straight-to-DVD front.

The flick revolves around a young guy named Jamie (Jim Sturgess), whose distinguishing birthmark on his face has resulted in him to be somewhat of a loner, only relying on the company of his mother. With the deterioration of the neighborhood and people around him, and violent crimes at a high, including several accounts of hooded individuals donning demon masks setting people on fire, it was only a matter of time before they got to the only person he cared about -- his mom.

Her death sends him on a spiral of hatred and vengeance, but before he could act out own his instincts, he's contacted by a mysterious individual named "Papa B", who seems to be the mastermind behind the recent surge of murders in the neighborhood. He offers Jamie a chance to be a normal person, living life without the mark on his face that has seemingly halted him from pursuing anything in his life. Jamie accepts, but normalcy comes with a price -- he must become one of the many pawns that are destroying the neighborhood...

As I said, the film's story takes a more dramatic approach than outright action or horror, which I'm sure will turn some people off since there are a few more slower-paced sequences involving Jamie, especially after he accepts the offer and becomes "normal". Of course it doesn't take long before he has to complete has half of the bargain, which is where the film becomes more of a pic that the genre is accustomed to -- one of his first tasks is to kill a random person, remove their heart, and place it in front of the steps of a church.

The movie's light on action until around the hour mark and doesn't turn into straight out horror until the last 15-or-so minutes, though it had a supernatural and demonic element looming through a majority of the running time, especially with hints that the hooded people are in fact real demons. The film is more of a thinker, never quite giving out detailed explanations behind some of the characters Jamie encounters and leaving the ending to the viewers own interpretation. Whether this is a positive or negative aspect of the flick is entirely left up to the audience. I personally liked its vague approach.

Heartless relies more on its dramatic elements and character development to drive its story, and leaving a lot to interpretation, which will likely lead it's audience towards mixed views. I liked the approach it took and found much of what it offered refreshing in today's normally bland genre offerings. Worth a check if you want a horror flick that requires a little more thought and emotion than usual.

Posted on May 30, 2010 - 4:35pm | FrighT MasteR

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