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Philip Ridley's True Vision of Despair and Desperation
I was very fortunate today to see an early screening of Heartless at the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, CA. I went into the film thinking it would be a horror film, but found it to be more of a psychological thriller with moments of horror.
I can honestly say this film absolutely blew me away! The story is brilliant and the acting superb. Jim Sturgess' obvious empathetic grasp of Jamie's insecurities as well as innocence is mesmerizing, and he gives 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 is a troubled soul. Jim's moving yet subtle performance as a disfigured and self conscious young man is totally convincing and elicits all the empathy this character warrants. When tragedy occurs, we see Jim's talents shine through as an emotionally distraught and unbalanced individual caught up in something he not only doesn't understand, but cannot control. Especially poignant is when a physical metamorphosis into beauty takes place. Jamie's nuanced transformation retains his persistent, underlying insecurity, never straying far from who he truly is on the inside, thus allowing us to accept, or question, what truly makes us human or a monster. The other characters in the film seem to simply support the storyline, and none of them alone has too much screen time. It's truly Jim who carries this film. However, I did find Joseph Mawle's performance as "Papa B" to be especially creepy.
With unending edge of your seat tension, my adrenaline was pumping the entire time and there were a few unexpected moments that made me jump. The story is unique and engaging, the cinematography artistically stunning, the effects dramatically appropriate for the dark subject matter, and it has a wonderful soundtrack that allows us to hear Jim's beautiful voice again throughout.
All in all, I believe that (with proper distribution) audiences will embrace this film. I can't wait to see it again!
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