Reviewed bygradyharpVote: 9/10/10
Philip Ridley is an artist, a writer and a film director whose work isconsidered unconventional and unique in every form he touches. Some howhe manages to marry all of these forms in his most recent HEARTLESS,including writing the lyrics to the many songs by David Julyou thatplay such an important role in the unfolding of this visit to the Faustlegend. It is harsh, dark, disturbing, and at times a bit over the topas far as his need to make visual things that go bump in the dark. Butin the end, with the incomparable help of featured actor Jim Sturgess,he makes it work.
Jamie Morgan (Jim Sturgess) is a young 25-year old photographer livingin a squalid area of London with his loving mother (Marion Morgan):Jamie bears a birthmark on his face and the upper torso that makes himthe victim of prejudice by the boys in the neighborhood and hasresulted in his living the life of a recluse. Jamie's brother andnephew (Luke Treadway and Justin Salinger) stay close to the home butare preoccupied with other matters - some good some bad. Jamie longsfor his departed father (Timothy Spall) who 'made the world make sense'and he longs for a relationship with a girl so that he can have afamily and be normal. Walking the streets at night Jamie hears screamsand witnesses sights that terrify him: he is aware that gangs rule theworld and in time he is assaulted with his mother during a night walkand his mother is killed. In an attempt to find sense out of chaosJamie becomes friends with a new neighbor AJ (Noel Clarke) and isoffered a handgun by a local merchant (Frazer Ayers) 'to protecthimself. As Jamie becomes more terrified with the creatures he sees inthe night and angered by the death of his mother he ultimately meetsPapa B (Joseph Mawle) who just happens to have strange powers to offerJamie anything he wishes. Jamie makes a pact with Papa B, agreeing topromote chaos in the streets in the form of writing graffiti in turnfor Papa B removing the ugly birthmark from his body. Papa B's younggirl assistant Charlie (Nadia Theaker) bonds with Jamie and becomeslike the daughter Jamie has always wanted.
Now, without the physical disfigurement Jamie attracts a prettydelivery girl Tia (Clémence Poésy) and seems to have found his wishescome true - with Tia and Charlie as family. But Papa B has other plansand sends his Weapons Man (Eddie Marsan) who gives Jamie an alteredversion of his assignment from his pact with Papa B and the worldbecomes ruled by horror. How Jamie responds to his new bizarreassignments changes the course of the tale, a course best not shared ina review.
Jim Sturgess makes this role of a seemingly impossible spectrum ofacting an example of just how skilled he has become in his craft. Thecast is good but burdened with many aspects of the bizarre that keepthe viewer form connecting in a positive way. The cinematography byMatt Gray is appropriately dark and the visual effects, thoughexcessively ugly, make the atmosphere of this dark tale work. It is astrange film and requires that viewer to suspend disbelief, but theimpact and underlying message is strong.
Reviewed byBeatleowlVote: 9/10/10
I was very fortunate today to see an early screening of Heartless atthe American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, CA. I went into thefilm thinking it would be a horror film, but found it to be more of apsychological thriller with moments of horror.
I can honestly say this film absolutely blew me away! The story isbrilliant and the acting superb. Jim Sturgess' obvious empathetic graspof Jamie's insecurities as well as innocence is mesmerizing, and hegives the audience his full range of emotions throughout the film which his fans will especially appreciate.
From the moment he first appears on screen, you just know that Jamie isa troubled soul. Jim's moving yet subtle performance as a disfiguredand self conscious young man is totally convincing and elicits all theempathy this character warrants. When tragedy occurs, we see Jim'stalents shine through as an emotionally distraught and unbalancedindividual caught up in something he not only doesn't understand, butcannot control. Especially poignant is when a physical metamorphosisinto beauty takes place. Jamie's nuanced transformation retains hispersistent, underlying insecurity, never straying far from who he trulyis on the inside, thus allowing us to accept, or question, what trulymakes us human or a monster. The other characters in the film seem tosimply support the storyline, and none of them alone has too muchscreen time. It's truly Jim who carries this film. However, I did findJoseph Mawle's performance as "Papa B" to be especially creepy.
With unending edge of your seat tension, my adrenaline was pumping theentire time and there were a few unexpected moments that made me jump.The story is unique and engaging, the cinematography artisticallystunning, the effects dramatically appropriate for the dark subjectmatter, and it has a wonderful soundtrack that allows us to hear Jim'sbeautiful voice again throughout.
All in all, I believe that (with proper distribution) audiences willembrace this film. I can't wait to see it again!
Reviewed byavedicgVote: 8/10/10
Philip Ridley brings us a new style of horror. Mesmerizing and twisted,Heartless tries to appeal to our deepest senses - fear simply being oneof them - by means of psychology. The "monster" in this so calledhorror drama, is not a monster at all but an inner pattern of whatmakes us humans; of what our feelings may turn us into.
Perhaps the movie is slightly underrated because the point of view thatshould have been used to look at this movie was not from the outside ofthe box but from the inside.
The performances were pretty good especially from Joseph Mawle(Papa B)whom i have only seen in Merlin, Eddie Marsan("Sherlock Holmes") andhis charismatic flavor and of course Jim Sturgess who proves once againthat he is a British star on a dark sky. However i expected somewhatmore from Clemence Poesy("War and Peace", "In Bruges) other than alovely accent.
Overall, i give "Heartless" an 8/10 for the feelings they tried tobring up but failed in a small measure. I do believe that concentratingeven more on the feelings and less on the horror part would've broughtthis movie a greater rating. Nonetheless, it is worth two hours of yourspare time.
Jamie Morgan, a young man with a large heart-shaped birthmark on his face, discovers that there are demons on the streets of East London.