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
The director's grandfather was Elmer C. Robinson, the cop who investigated the Lonely Hearts murders. See more »
When the aircraft is shown landing at Albany, you see a runway and taxiway sign that were not in use until decades later. 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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Film noire + femme fatale + murder = one terrific movie
"You know what they say about cops and donuts" quips Salma Hayek's character Martha Beck to James Gandolfini in the movie Lonely Hearts, "they're only good when they have a hole in them." This, coupled with Gandolfini's retort "funny, they say the same thing about women", captures the essence of the Chandler-esquire dialog that peppers this true crime homage to film noir.
The movie tells the story of Raymond Fernandez (Jared Leto) and Martha Beck who carved out their own chapter in the annals of crime history during the 1940s as the Lonely Hearts Killers. Together, Fernandez and Beck ran a con game using personal ads to seek out wealthy widows and single women with money. Fernandez would engage in correspondence with the women, eventually meeting them and gaining their trust as well as access to their money. Beck, would accompany him posing has his sister, helping Fernandez gain the trust of their victims, whom the two murdered after they'd drained their bank accounts. At the time of their capture, the body count they'd racked up was estimated at between 12 and 20.
Directed by Todd Robinson, the grandson of detective Elmer Robinson (played by John Travolta), the story alternates between that of Fernandez and Beck, and pursuing detectives Robinson and Hildebrandt (Gandolfini), with Gandolfini handling the connecting voice-over narration in traditional film noire patter.
Although some details are condensed for narrative purposes, the story largely sticks to the facts of the couple's actual murder spree, the only glaring discrepancy being the casting of Hayek as Beck, who in reality was a rotund, unattractive, battleaxe of a woman who maintained Fernandez's loyalty by granting his every sexual wish. The producers can be forgiven for opting to cast Hayek instead of a more credible Rosie O'Donnell type, however, as Hayek brings more than mere eye-candy to her role. She plays a sadistic, manipulative, cold-blooded murderer to the hilt, and practically serves as the driving engine for the film's story.
With a crackerjack cast of Travolta, Gandolfini, Hayek, Leto and Laura Dern (as Robinson's love interest) all bringing their A-game, coupled with a smartly written screenplay, snappy dialog, good pacing, excellent cinematography and direction, the only oddity about this film is that it was relegated to limited theatrical release, largely playing a few festivals before being relegated to DVD. Unlike the case it is based on, this is one crime that probably will remain unsolved.
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