Dark Hearts (2014) Poster

(I) (2014)

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1/10
stunningly boring and thoroughly static
alannasser5 May 2014
This film was remarkable for its lack of movement. There is indeed something of a story line, but it has no motion or tension to it. The feeling is flat and inconsequential from beginning to end. The giveaway is that you are not drawn into either the story or the characters. The idea of blood as an essential component of this artist's work has a "so what" resonance to it, i.e. it's a fact but there is no reason to care. The writing is embarrassingly ridden with clichés, and are lines are delivered by characters with no depth and actors with no breadth. While on the face of them certain developments are dramatic, you are consistently left with the feeling that nothing is happening. You want to be drawn in, but the story and the writing won't let you.

Take a chance if you feel like it, but I found this film to be one of the worse I've seen in a very long time. Not at all recommended.
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10/10
my dark, mercurial heart awaits you
eventide7220 June 2014
I was lucky enough to attend the London premier of Rudolf Buitendach's wild excursion into the shadowed souls of the LA art scene and, whilst I expected great things, the movie, so resolute and confident in tone, caught me off guard. Firstly Dark Heart's freshness, much like the tubes of blood dimmed paint that scatter Buitendach's canvas of broken, sometimes lost characters, chimes through on every scene. There's also a knowingness and grasp of genre but a giddy willfulness to play the trump card and subvert expectations. It's true to say the threads of Jarmusch, Lynch, Bigelow and even perhaps Hal Hartley wind their way through this shady pantheon of the downtown LA art scene but director Buitendach juggles and panhandles them into his own unique voice. There's so much to admire here and so much fun to be had. The kind of stylistic bloodletting we haven't seen in such a long time, a smoky, mercurial turn by a wildly beautiful and wanton mysterious Sonja Kinski, a strong, soulful discovery in Lucas Til's Sam, who, ensnared by the brutally sexual and fetishistic interplay of our main characters, becomes our voice in the wilderness, our 'conscience' when the insanity kicks in full tilt. A special mention must also go to Suzanne Barnes costume design, sparse and dense in equal measure, which in itself very cleverly becomes indivisible from the set and production design. The use of Guy Theaker's moody, murky score shades and colors our ensemble of broken souls nicely whilst Kyle Schmid, Juliet Landau, Goran Visnjic and Rachel Blanchard all turn in compelling, memorable performances in a feature film debut completely worthy of your attention. Buitendach is clearly a director to watch, and watch closely. Delve in to Dark Hearts. You'll come out bloody and tangled, delirious and spent...but it's a exhilarating trip you'll want to savour again.
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9/10
Edgy Indie Film!
wjw2938 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Taking the road less traveled, "Dark Hearts" is an edgy indie film that explores the dynamics of love and hate, creation and destruction in a modern subculture that is reminiscent of the salons in Paris during the 18th century. Set against the backdrop of the postmodern minefield of the contemporary urban landscape, the heady mixture results in a cocktail that takes the viewer through a psychological labyrinth rarely found in mainstream film. The performances are excellent and provide insight to the shadows and light that make the characters come alive with a gritty realism against an nearly surreal backdrop. This film is a must see for thrillers that travel off the beaten path!
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8/10
An intriguging, sumptuous thriller -- a true genre-bending indie that will stick in your mind for days
rhu792 September 2014
I was lucky enough to catch this film recently at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival (my neighborhood film festival). I wasn't sure what to expect as Indie films can be a mixed bag -- it can inspire or it can make you to cringe. I was very pleased to discover that DARK HEARTS was not only the former, but its actually a TRUE indie in the sense that it goes into darker and more boundary pushing places than most of what we see around us these days. I was immediately intrigued. Those looking for a simple, entertaining crowd-pleaser would be disappointed. But despite its dark premise, this is not a film that satisfies itself with being a mindless, violent blood-fest. Instead, Dark Hearts is cool, sexy, complex and artistic with just a touch of the disturbing (I mean this in the best possible way). It shakes you up a little by challenging you to think deeper. But it is also primal, raw and honest. The production value is impressive and sumptuous - honorable mentions to its featured artwork, cinematography, costumes and music. Not to mention a good looking and very charismatic cast.

This film stayed in my mind for days. Now if only there were more films like this ....
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9/10
Fantastic Thriller!
jasonbwhittier31 December 2013
"Dark Hearts" is truly a fantastic film! It kept me on the edge of my seat and had me guessing to the end...which I didn't see coming. The story line is very unique and suspenseful. The acting was also very good, with notable performances from Kyle Schmid and Sonja Kinski. I've got to check out more of their films after watching "Dark Hearts". The cinematography is breathtaking at times and has some great shots. The director did a great job putting all the pieces together. Whoever did the location scouting I am envious of, and the set design was also very artistically done.

I recommend this film to all you thriller lovers out there. You won't be disappointed.
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8/10
Bloodlust for grown-ups
Dark Hearts is a vampire story that isn't a vampire story—a figurative take on well-worn folktales characterized by a literal thirst for blood, heightened sexuality, and bodily immortality. Such folklore has been exploited time and again by shrewd marketers targeting young adults—the demographic most driven by hormones, afflicted with delusions of invincibility, and unschooled in artistic discrimination. DH strikes at the core of these primordial desires but raises the creative bar by taking the literal to the figurative. It's been argued that all successful artists attain immortality through fame as do the subjects they choose to depict—so long as each model's essence is truly captured by the artist, and perhaps even sacrificed by the model for the sake of the work. If this be the case, then screenwriter Christian Piers Betley has successfully married the symbolic immortality of fine art to the time-honored vampiric folklore to engender a unique brand of bloodlust and a far more plausible anti-heroic struggle for immortality. Betley's story flourishes under the direction of Rudolf Buitendach (a man with an apparent love for the industrial underbelly of Los Angeles) who draws impressively visceral performances from stars Kyle Schmid (who plays struggling artist, Colson) and Lucas Till (Colson's naive younger brother, Sam) as well as from newcomer Sonja Kinski (sultry singer and kept girl, Fran) who moves deftly between femme fatale and fragile waif. Theme-wise, other volatile ingredients in the pot include fraternal rivalry, psychological addiction, paranoia, mental/physical abuse, and men with guns—all of the makings of a complex thriller and a Shakespearean tragedy. Some characters could have been imbued with a bit more dimension. For example, Goran Visnjic plays the all-too-familiar violent mobster with no apparent motive beyond a psychopathic need to possess and harm. Overall, however, DH is a winning, atmospheric debut piece from an up-and-coming filmmaker whose future work I await with anticipation.
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9/10
A film noir story that's worthy of the star power that drives it.
killahlamb7 May 2014
It's difficult to find many films today that demand your attention when not involving battling robots, superheroes or a bunch of buddies celebrating ANOTHER sleepless night in Vegas. Movies that have deeper motives usually fall by the waist side in theaters. But thanks to digital streaming and word of mouth through social media, films like this can strive forward and be seen by people who almost a decade ago still didn't have the advantages we have now in that aspect. The movie itself carries much weight with its stars, who bring a raw dynamic that helps not only shape the movie, but noticeably shape the actors as well. Lucas Till and Kyle Schmid have excellent chemistry together that is increased by the steady and focused directing that kept the pace exactly where it needed to be. Sonja Kinski is as beautiful as she is intimidating, with a role that reminds one of Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" with still stands out on its own as a very dark and real performance. I highly recommend this film to fans of the noir genre, and I recommend it to all who are looking for a daring and enthralling film they won't soon forget.
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