Tuesday, July 31, 2007

LONELY HEARTS - everything THE BLACK DAHLIA should've been

LONELY HEARTS is a beautifully put together, well-cast, engaging crime thriller based on gruesome crimes that took place in 1940s America. In fact, it’s everything the fiasco that was THE BLACK DAHLIA should have been.

Jared Leto plays real-life con-man, Ray Fernandez, who charms lonely divorcees and women out of their money. He’s mean but not menacing. He hooks up with Salma Hayek’s psychotic nymphomaniac, Martha Beck, whose jealous temper leads them into a truly twisted relationship. She murders one of their marks in a fit of pique and goads him into other murders. It’s a convincing and petrifying psychological portrait: Leto and Hayek really sell the notion that they are two “crazy lovebirds” – in fact, this may be Hayek’s career-defining performance, second only to her role as Frida Kahlo. The second plot strand sees John Travolta and James Gandolfini play the rozzers on the killers’ tail. Travolta gives a rare and appropriately introverted performance as a man whose conscientiousness a cop drove his wife to suicide. Gandolfini, however, does not move beyond his wise guy persona, and Laura Dern, as Travolta’s new lover, has too little to do. Scott Caan, however, has a nice smaller role. Performances aside, the movie looks fantastic – with all the costumes, locations and incidental details adding to the authenticity. I also love the matter-of-factness of the violence. The opening credits are a case in point. Absolutely class. All in all, despite, the limited release and under-the-radar marketing, LONELY HEARTS is definitely worth checking out.

LONELY HEARTS went on release in the US, Taiwan, Denmark, Finland, Israel and Norway in 2006 and in the Netherlands, Serbia & Montenegro, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Greece, France, Spain and Egypt earlier this year. It is currently on release in Mexico and the UK and opens in Argentina on October 4th. It is also available on Region 1 DVD.


  1. Cheers! It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a film!