Heartless

Dramatic horror with an excellent cast set in a seedy and strange version of London.

Release Date: 19 November 2010 (USA)

Director: Philip Ridley

Stars: Jim Sturgess, Luke Treadaway, Clémence Poésy

Country: USA

Language: English

Written and directed by Philip Ridley, this dramatic horror stars Jim Sturgess as Jamie Morgan, a man born with a heart shaped birthmark on his face right where everyone can see it of course.

Heartless is set in London, but a very dark and twisted version of the city, something completely original. Jamie discovers that the capital has a dark underbelly and that there are demons stalking the streets. Well, spend a night in Soho is my advice, you’ll see plenty of demons there. The reality of the place is more fantasy than gritty realism and this is all in the movie’s favour as we are dragged into this strange distorted world. There’s an element of Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere” about this alternate London and it makes for a very absorbing backdrop to an inventive and quietly brilliant movie.

Jim Sturgess gives a fantastic performance as a man who is never sure of what is real and what is not. Equally so, the audience remains befuddled throughout the movie until the astonishing ending which really is one of those unexpected twists that makes the viewer gasp. Backing Sturgess up are Clemence Posey as Tia and the always excellent Noel Clarke as AJ. All in all, the cast couldn’t do better and they lend a real class to an already strong script. Is Jamie suffering from some kind of mental illness? All will be revealed. Or will it?

Visually the movie is stunning with the rich and complex cinematography in the film cleverly mirroring the theme of photography that runs through the narrative. The movie is extremely well plotted with Ridley showing that he really can write as well as direct and there are many twists to keep the viewer guessing. This isn’t a movie that releases it’s grip for one second, from the initial visually arresting sight of Jamie and his birthmark, it holds the attention all the way through. It’s an unusually thought provoking film for the horror genre as well, constantly questioning our perceptions in a way that really makes an impact on the viewer. Highly recommended, this one is a must see.

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