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In the late 1940's, Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez were America's notorious "Lonely Hearts Killers". Their lethal scam was simple; they would swindle and then viciously murder lovelorn war widows who would answer their personal ads in which Ray would describe himself as a sexy Latin Lover. Ironically, Ray's initial introduction to Martha was as a prospective mark. But when they met, it was love at first sight, perhaps as a result of their penchant for kinky sex and their mutual love for duplicity and easy money. With Martha posing as Ray's sister, they bilked elderly spinsters and widows of their savings and then viciously murdered them in a bloodbath of sexual frenzy. When they were arrested, Martha and Ray confessed to 12 killings, although it is believed the actual number is closer to 20. At their sensational trial, Martha and Ray cooed, held hands and seemed as though they could not get enough of each other. Their plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was rejected, and on ... Written by
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After the police find the blood under the floor boards in Fernandez's house, we hear Hildebrandt's voice-over that the cops just missed the couple as they were 5 miles away in Seaford, NY buying a flop top car. Fernandez's home was in Valley Stream which is close to 20 miles away from Seaford, not 5 miles. See more »
Hey, we're all proud of you buster... Charlie... Small town cop dropping a pair like this. You wait a a lifetime never even sniffling this guy.
You want to make a move to the burbs, you let me know. It's a phone call. Hey, maybe you wanna through the switch, I can fix that too.
You're such an asshole.
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Synopsis: Based on actual events that occurred in the 1940s, this film noir centres around the chase of two money stealing serial killers, Raymond Fernandez (Jared Leto) and Martha Beck (Salma Hayek). The chase begins when two New York detectives, Charles Hildebrandt (James Gandolfini) and Elmer C. Robinson (John Travolta) come across a suspicious murder, and through a hunch of detective Robinsons, the investigation leads them to the trail of Beck and Martha. Before Martha entered the picture (or should we say ad), Beck was a singleton who answered the emotionally foiled ads of widowers and vulnerable women - via the 'lonely hearts' column. This was his little black book to an easy fortune. Thinking he was the 'Don Juan', the balding Latin lover seduced his way through countless women, robbing them of their life savings, without any empathy...until that is, when he came across Martha. Described in the narrative as 'damaged goods', Martha instantly catched onto Beck's polygamous routine, but her reaction was anything other than sickened. Both being like minded and sexually sordid, they joined forces and became known as the 'Lonely Hearts Killers'. One of the most notorious serial killers in history. From here on, the story unravels into a cat and mouse game, always leaving Robinson and Hildebrandt a step behind their killers. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and eventually they are caught, and sentenced for execution, on the account of 12 confessed murders.
My thoughts: From the moment i pressed play, i knew this movie was going to be stylistically directed, but as it was a remake and the director was an unknown, i remained quite reserved until half way through. Todd Robinson has done justice to what is a personal film to him, as Elmer C. Robinson was his grandfather. Although not as historically correct as could have been, the film manages to engage you to the end. The ending is somewhat Hollywood tinged, but this in no way detracts from the film's achievements...that is of cinematography and acting.
Lately, it seems that John Travolta acts best in moody roles, such as the one he did in 'A Love Song For Bobby'. His character in 'Lonely Hearts' is always on show, and the death of his wife broods over him like a bad smell. His trademark glare is ever present, and as expected, gives a performance suited to the film's genre.
In any film i see James Gandolfini in, i always see Tony Soprano, but maybe thats because he can't help but act the way he really is...which is a testament to him as a good actor. The only exception from this is in 'Romance & Cigarettes', in which you have the delight in hearing him sing! None the less, he adds some well deserved humour to the film, and towards the end, you see a more softer side of him.
The first time i saw Jared Leto was in Fight Club as the ass licking blondie, and it was evident that this guy had talent. Although he still seems underrated and under used, his commitment as an actor is ever present. He recently gained 62 lbs for his new movie 'Chapter 27', and then was diagnosed with gout after dramatically losing it. Regarding his performance in 'Lonely Hearts', he was more than adequate and played his character with a somewhat over the top comedic twist.
Salma Hayek also gives a good performance, but seems wrongly cast, as the real character she is playing was 'ugly' and it was this jealousy towards other beautiful girls that made her the way she was, especially when they would fall for her partner in crime, Beck. Other than the miscasting, she played it well and strong, so much so, people thought she deserved an Oscar...but not me.
The violence in the movie is very strong and bloody, but appear very few times in the film. Something which give the film more credibility. Along with this, the film noir narrative and look is spot on...adding to the 1940's experience.
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