Paris today. Simon works as psychologist in human resources department of petrochemical corporation. When Management gets him to investigate one of the factory's executives, Simon'perception goes disturbingly chaotic and cloudy. The experience affects his body, his mind, his personal life and his sensibility. The calm assurance that made him such a rigorous technician starts to falter. Written by
If I am tired and want some mind-numbing entertainment, I don't mind a film that presents its issues in black and white - the baddies are bad, the goodies are good and the moral dilemmas are no more taxing than first grade arithmetic.
Heartbeat Detector does not fall into that category. It is not entertainment. Everything about it says this is a film to think about and take seriously. The web of lies, the conflicts between different players' sense of reality, they all cry out to us: art-house, subtlety, layers of meaning. How disappointing then that the film gradually degenerates into a simplistic (and false) moral message.
The true awfulness of the film is only discovered at the very end when the final scene thrusts its trite moral message upon us in a way that clearly implies (I won't spoil it for you by saying how) that the viewer is being blessed with an earth-shattering profundity. In fact it is nothing more profound than a reminder of something which has been presented in the cinema many times before, and presented with more artistry, subtley and ambiguity. I am being a bit cryptic to avoid giving it all away. Surprise is the one good thing about the ending and if I removed that, nothing good would remain.
The film has other flaws too, already discussed by other reviewers, but I give it 4 stars because I agree with some of the positive comments made.
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