Brian’s Review – “Heartless” (2009)


What’s it About?

Jamie Morgan, a young man with a large heart-shaped birthmark on his face, discovers that there are demons on the streets of East London.


Directed by Philip Ridley

By Brian

8 out of 10

“Love is only temporary but suffering is eternal.” -Papa B. –  “Heartless”

Heartless is a very special film containing the most original visual work I have seen in a film since “Black Swan.” I love films where the camera is as much a character as the principle actors. Director Philip Ridley doesn’t just place actors on a set and have them exchange dialogue until they move onto the next scene. He paints a picture here that perfectly encapsulates the mood of each individual segment.

When demons are lurking, committing atrocities, or tempting the main character, we not only feel but see the bleakness, despair, darkness, and anger. Conversely, the romantic and loving elements are obviously quite the opposite but are just as, if not more, effective. He changes the style completely to a washed out and bright world that feels like you’re touching heaven.

The story itself is a Faustian tale with its own surprises and twists along the way. I have always enjoyed when a character that has a good heart is given a chance at getting what he wants the easy way by having to commit evil deeds. Does he take the opportunity despite the steep costs? What deeds must he perform? How does it affect the other characters around him? It’s a formula that can be very good or very bad depending on the skills of the director and actors involved. Luckily, the script here works almost as well as the visual style.

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These characters really come alive in Ridley’s world and pulled me in. I cared what happened to them. I suppose much of the credit for that has to be given to Jim Sturgess who is brilliant in the main role. He goes through myriad changes from the beginning to the end of the film and our hearts break or are lifted up by him. Are there missteps? There’s a few. The setup is so amazing that I’m sure the final act was hard to pull off no matter what they did. I didn’t feel the same satisfaction as I did during the setup.

Without giving away any spoilers, the last 10 minutes wrapped up a bit too quickly. I felt a bit more explanation was necessary considering the amount of questions that had been left open. Is it a perfect film? No, but it’s damn good and for anyone that enjoys a dark moral fable, I highly recommend it!

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    • Hi Mark! Glad you enjoyed Brian’s review. I’ve seen Heartless once and I was quite impressed with it. I felt that Brian’s review was spot on.

      I appreciate you stopping by, Mark and I hope you enjoy the film. Thanks!

    • Glad you liked Brian’s review, Paul! This is a very cool little dark tale and also a well done psychological thriller. I think you’ll enjoy it.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it!

  1. This is one that has evaded me for ages now and I am not sure why. I like Noah Clarke. He is a charismatic dude and can entertain even when he is terrible films. Plus, the scores are usually high on this film and folks get such a kick out of it.

    Going to make an effort to watch this sooner than later!

    • Let me know your thoughts after you’ve watched it. It’s a very well done movie and is quite effective.

      I believe Clarke was in Star Trek and is in a new flick called “I Am Soldier”

      • I actually plan to watch “I am Soldier” at some point or another. Looks good! He was also in a low budget alien horror flick called Section 24!

      • It is on there! I gave it a 2.5/5 which is the rating I’ll usually give to something that is badly written, yet in some cases still fun. It is mindless, silly and the characters are dildos, but I cannot say I was bored. Nonsensical alien/slasher hybrid essentially…

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