Heart of America [DVD] 
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Based on the tragic shootings at Columbine High School, this drama explores the frustrations of two high school teenagers who have been tormented for years by bullies, and who plan on taking a final, bloody vengeance on the last day of school. Jurgen Prochnow stars as the harrassed principal Harold Lewis.
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Uwe Boll has an understandable reputation for delivering artistically ignorable cinematic adaptations from videogames, yet in person he still speaks with what seems to be genuine passion for the cultural power of ambitious and responsible filmmaking. In viewing Heart of America, it is suddenly and unexpectedly clear how he can operate on both sides of this dividing line.
This is a simple, short film, which does not need to be any more complex -- or, rather, it weaves a number of threads so smoothly as to seem simple to the point of inevitability. In our more conservative era, in some ways it does not hit as hard as Scum (1979), Blue Remembered Hills (TV version 1979) or Romper Stomper (1992). Then again, this conservatism makes it all the more uncomfortable to be brought face-to-face with so blunt a meditation on schoolday, classroom and neighbourhood alienation and disaffection.Read more ›
Unlike the almost soulless Gus Van Sant film Elephant, in which the reasons for high school shootings were not even mentioned and characters acted like robots, here you get to experience the real thing head on. Sure it is not an easy to watch film, but if you want to know what really goes on in many (if not all) US high schools, and the potential consequences of it, watch this film and ignore those critics who have no idea what they are talking about when saying that this film is stereotyped: they just don't want you watching this film, as it is not one of those politically correct turkeys made in Hollywood: this is the real life in a US high school: a jungle where only the strongest survive and the rest fall.
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Anyway, if that is the case, I want to make clear that it is highly underrated, since it is a very good movie.
Although you'll see the climax coming miles away, this movie still keeps you on the edge of your seat, and makes you wonder which one of the students who are bullied will snap in the end.
The editing is very stylish, since it doesn't run in chronological order, but not confusing in anyway, I thought it was a nice touch. The soundtrack really adds to the emotions the "victims" feel; and by victims, I mean the students who are bullied all over through highschool and then finally snap.
They went through hell, and a bully can't imagine what he is doing to a person. Don't get me wrong, I'm not approving of taking revenge on bullies by killing them, but to be honest, I can understand why they did it.
If you're humiliated, bullied, abused, hit and kicked every single day, year in year out, you're bound to snap one day; a human being can only take this much.
This movie really lets you understand the hell those students are going through, and why they one day pick up a gun, and don't care what they do, even if it cost their own life.
Therefore this is a great movie, well-acted well directed and everyone should see this.
I'm a teacher myself, and can't possibly understand how these things can happen and escalate. I mean, if a student gets picked on every day, it's hard to believe that the teachers don't know about it. So I guess, they DO know, but just don't do anything about it, maybe because they're used to it, and think it's "part of the game".
When students in my class pick on each other, I immediately nip it in the bud, so I got a "happy" classroom, and after the first schooldays the bullying was soon over.
But I guess, it can happen everywhere.
Not only in America this happened, but it already happened 2 years ago in Germany, and last year here in the Netherlands. A student in The Hague snapped and killed a principal.
I think people should act upon this ongoing trend, and prevent other highschool dramas from happening.
Anyway, I'm rambling along about the events in our world, but this should be a movie review; and to come to that, I just think that this movie can be of great influence on students; not in a way, to encourage the bullied ones to pick up a gun, but I think it will convert some bullies and stop them from bullying others. I think unwillingly they will come to their senses and realize what they're doing to other people, and what consequences it may have.
Therefore I absolutely recommend this movie, not only to students, but to everyone, since everyone should know what is going on in the world in in our students' heads and lives.
This might not be the greatest film ever made, but it is most certainly not the worst either ("Smoking Aces" was far worse, in my opinion). If you happen to be interested in the topic of high school shootings, then don't be put off by the fact that Boll directed this film. You might be pleasantly surprised too.
HEART OF AMERICA is a Uwe Boll picture that's based on the Columbine High School shootings. Poorly conceived, poorly shot, poorly acted, poorly scripted, poorly edited, it's classic Boll. This German-born perennial "Razzie" winner perhaps can no longer pass his stink in Germany, so now he targets American subjects. Not a wise move.
On this last school day before summer recess, the murders to come have been previously set in motion when a group of athletes humiliate the wrong three kids. Before the actual assault however, we're distracted with the behavior of faculty (good or bad) and the personal lives of other students soon to be innocent victims, who were in the wrong place at the worst possible time.
B&W flashbacks, an attempt to create suspense by not immediately revealing who the final shooter will be and a narrated lltany of real-llfe school attacks, absolutely nothing seems to work here.
BTW, don't bother with ELEPHANT (2002), either. As with this botched effort, there's ultimately no lessons learned from it, no message beyond how truly random life is, and how easily it can end in sudden violence. Both are a total downer.
Finally, as to Uwe Boll, I'd rather watch a movie directed by Manute Boll. He surely could do no worse.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(4.1) Heart of America (Canada/Germany-2002) - Jürgen Prochnow/Michael Pare/Patrick Muldoon/Maria Conchita Alonso/Clint Howard
Basically, every cliche of 22 year olds playing high school students is exploited in this film, and as another reviewer pointed out, none of the characters are even slightly likable, which makes it hard to know who to root for or why.
The director's name, Uwe Boll, was vaguely familiar, and after watching the film, I re-learned that he's a 'tax shelter' director who many people consider the worst director of the modern era. By that standard, this was probably one of his better films, but it left me saying, "that's 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back."
If you think you'd like to see an "afterschool special"-quality movie made by a foreigner about what's wrong with a generic version of America, you might enjoy laughing at this movie. If not, I would recommend you watch any other movie on the subject but this one, and in particular, I recommend Zero Day as being as brilliant as this film is stale.