An attractive, happy ménage-a-trois in Montreal abruptly splits up, leaving burned-out photojournalist Matthias Habich the odd lover out, adding a burden of personal disillusionment to his already overwhelming load of professional guilt. Quebec filmmaker Léa Pool certainly shows a flair for dramatic gestures, and her film is often more fragmented than its protagonist, sometimes to stunning effect. Mirrors are shattered, children in Third-World villages are shot, heartbeats pound on the soundtrack (there's an unfortunate tendency to overwork the bombastic synthesizer score), and the stark black and white photographs supposedly taken by Habich while on assignment (and meant to illustrate his inner anguish) almost overpower the simple human drama in the foreground. But once the story zeroes in on Habich's moral crisis (and his bittersweet affair with a deaf-mute window washer) it coheres into an absorbing study of a man disengaged from the world around him, with all the jarring flashbacks and portentous visual tricks balanced against moments of surprising tenderness and sensitivity. Only the generic English language title ('Straight to the Heart') is a liability.
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