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3.7 out of 5 stars38
3.7 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 August 2011
Redemption and hope are sought in a Faustian tale set in a Shorditch full of velociraptor faced demon hoodies, murder and stylized gangs.

If you don't like the sound of that then this isn't the film for you (and you're weird - why wouldn't you like that?). Heartless refers to various elements of the film but mostly to our hero's (Jim Sturgess - if hero is the right word) birthmark which renders him an outsider and awkward. He stumbles upon a gang who he realises are not human and begins his descent into anarchy and darkness. There are various story strands; his fear of the marauding gangs, his search for revenge after the violence comes home, his infatuation with an Eastern European model he meets at his uncle's studio, his friendship with his new neighbour (Noel Clarke)and said neighbours dark past and a vicious gang leader with a claw for a hand intetn on mayhem. So far this is a film noir set in a grimy and dangerous East London but it becomes clear very quickly that there is a strong supernatural element here (the review title "Harry Brown in Hell" sums it up pretty nicely). Soon the hero must face his worst fears and gets an offer he can't really refuse taking him deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness but offering him the hope of a good life.

The grainy and grimy feel of rundown London estates makes for a perfect backdrop for the unfolding story which contrasts nicely with some of the ancient buildings and the green fields of London parks. The film looks great and the fact that special effects are used rather sparingly means that they work when they are. Okay the velociraptor faces are a little bit iffy but fleeting views in the shadows mean that is being very picky.

What distinguishes this from most horror (especially recent British horror - a lot of which has been pretty ropey) is that has genuine tenderness. No one in this film is just monster fodder. Everyone gets a chance to grow and develop and everyone matters. There aren't many deaths in this film (compared to most horror) but you care about all of them. You will find yourself conflcited about some of the choices that the hero has to make.

This is an intelligent, well scripted, well acted, beautifully shot and well constructed piece. It feels like it has tried to be too many different things but it succeeds pretty well. There are some very strange choices of style for example the murder of a gay prostitute is pretty much a comedy scene but somehow it all works. There is gore but it is the atmosphere which picks at your nerves. And it really does unnerve the viewer - especially when you wodner what you would do.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I was very impressed with Heartless. Writer & director Phillip Ridley has managed to pull off something to be very proud of. The story is unique and of the moment. It's also exciting, intriguing and very touching too.

It ends with some quite beautiful words of wisdoms that wrap up the film in an unexpected ending M.Night Shamallam would be proud of; and the direction, lighting and cinematography are all well handled, getting the most out of some great sets and locations.

The acting and characters are all very good and very believable, and you become invested in them emotionally. There's also a brilliant appearance by Eddie Marson, who is surely one the UK's top acting talents... If you don't know the name, you'll know his face when you see it.

The musical score is good and adds to the film in all the right places, and the film itself has more than it's fair share of twist and turns; ones that I'm happy to say you don't see coming a mile off.

The CGI is good too, and one thing I'm really pleased about is that this film didn't feel cheap or 'British'. A lot of UK cinema, good as it might be, sometimes feels very 'made for TV', low budget, or film school, but this didn't at all. I think that that is in no small part thanks to Philip Ridley.

This film is perhaps only really worth 4 stars - it had it's flaws and, perhaps, one or two twists too many, but I'm so impressed by what was attempted - and more to the point - what was achieved, that I'm going to give it 5 stars. I'll certainly be talking about it down the pub tonight and look forward to seeing what Phillip Ridley gives us next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2015
I really liked this i was almost put off watching by all the bad reviews but glad i gave it a chance with a good twist at the end but i did guess it before it was revealed and not sure how i did, but anyways you should give this a chance and not be put off by the bad reviews you will be quite surprised, seen on Netflix and now one i think il buy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2015
I used to love this director, for his wonderful debut (The Reflecting Skin, maybe the closest film to early Malick ever done).
Too bad that maybe he needed some projects and took this one.
Potentially interesting (a kind of Faust set in current days) but, after and intriguing and promising start, it becomes confused, gore and pointless.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Although billed in many places as a horror film this is more of a supernatural thriller set in London's East End but this is the East End of tower blocks and derelict sites not cheerful cockneys, and demons lurk in the shadows. A young man with a disfiguring heart shaped birth mark on his face dreams of life as a 'normal' person whilst fleeing from a strange gang of hoodies who appear to be real demons with metal teeth. This is a well produced and directed British movie which shows off life in the East End with warts and all but somehow just didn't quite hit the spot for me. It's one of those movies where the ending leaves the whole film open for interpretation and discussion, I actually thought it was a portrayal of mental illness but I'm equally sure you'll see it in a different light. All the cast give a good performance and the blu-ray transfer is sharp with a good precise soundtrack but little in the way of surround sound. Well worth a watch and reassuring to see that quality British cinema is not a thing of the past.
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on 15 January 2013
I'm a little biased as I know all the locations very well and live very close by, but was really entertained by this. None of the elements are original, but I feel it was put together very well. I loved that Eddie Marsan was in it, his scene was darkly funny, and then the prostitute scene just funny (very well acted by that young man). The horror elements I think have probably disappointed some horror fans (not scary), they probably are mostly the 1 & 2 * reviews, but the horror element, whilst holding the film together for me was not a huge part of the film. I can see that maybe also up and down in tone did not please some viewers but it didn't bother me.
I saw it with no expectations and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
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on 5 June 2011
If you like intelligent and original horror this film may be for you. If you are interested in characterisation rather than a reliance on special effects this may also be for you. If you like films that are not predictable and challenge, again this may be for you. This is a great film and you have to think a little bit outside the box to get it.

Great acting throughout, I empathised with all the main protagonists (alrmingly this included - up to a point - the "Devil") and woke up the next morning still trying to sort the whole thing out. A real surprise. Called Heartless but ultimately this film had a lot of heart and I found it quite moving. And the icing on the cake - it's British!
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on 2 May 2015
An interesting modern take on a devil focused film. It teaches bueaty is confidence and thst everything has a price and of course to never trust in the devil. Brilliant acting and it was nice to see a cameo from Timothy Spall. There are a few good gory moments but it's not a film overly saturated in blood, with the focus more on the psychology and story which is refreshing these days in a time of predictable teen slasher crap. Worth a watch, i enjoyed it, it's something that little bit different.
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on 13 July 2011
Well obviously it's a subjective issue but I really felt like this was a very poor film. The way it was shot was good, and so was the setting but there my praise ends. I felt the acting was corny, like people who had failed an eastenders audition got scooped up for this film. The plot was just like the Chemical Brothers video for galvanise only substitute machines for demons and stretch it out for 2 hours. Really not for me.
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on 3 November 2015
Wow. I had no idea what to expect as I bought this film. I am glad I did so!! This movie is quite simply one of the best I have seen. Jim Sturgess is incredible. I really want to go into detail with my thoughts in regards to this movie. But I fear by doing so I may give away the story. I say if you want to see a great,smart,funny,touching British movie you could pick a lot worse than Heartless
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