Phew. Excuse me while I pull my head out of the toilet. Why? Oh well, I just finished watching Dark Hearts and I couldn’t fight the wrenching sickness in my stomach any longer. You’ve never heard of Dark Hearts? Consider yourself spared. But since you’re here anyway, I’ll tell you what I really think about this film.
I don’t think I’ve ever had to work this hard to simply summarize a film. Then again, Dark Hearts isn’t your average movie experience. Released in 2012, Dark Hearts focuses on several young people living on the borderline of poverty in an art-driven community (Why does that sound familiar?). Our main character Colson (Kyle Schmid) is a starving artist with great talent, but who has run out of inspiration. But then he meets Fran (Sonja Kinski), a mysterious emo/goth singer whose mere existence is over-powering to anyone in her radius. When inspiration strikes for Colson, it strikes hard by way of blood; thick, red blood. But where’s it coming from? Though their new love affair may be filled with passion, trouble lies ahead in the forms of Colson’s impressionable younger brother Sam (Lucas Till) who threatens their relationship, and Fran’s mob boss pimp Armand (Goran Visnjic), who is determined to reclaim his girl.
Seems harmless enough, right? Sure, a little overdone and significantly dramatic, but surely it can’t be that bad. Or at least that’s what you think. Let me get more specific. The WORST part of this movie is ever word ever spoken in the entire run time, and that’s not a generalization. From start to finish, the characters (as they were written) are constantly trying to be existential by using language no normal person would say in any of the filmed situations. And this doesn’t happen just once and a while, it’s nearly EVERY LINE. This haiku dialogue carries half the responsibility for the utterly confusing nature of this film. The other half? Film composition and editing.
I don’t blame the actors for their performances. They were just reading the script as they thought it was intended to be read. However, I do place blame on those who decided to omit any semblance of a baseline for this film. Without proper introduction to the characters, and their relations to one another, I was lost from the start. Being an experienced viewer gave me the advantage of connecting the dots myself, but that just reinforced my disappointment in the creator’s misstep. It was like watching episode 5 of a series I’d never seen before. There was obviously a story being told, but it felt like I got dropped in the middle of it, instead of coming in at the beginning. To make matters worse, Dark Hearts strongly reminded me of a soap opera, of which I steer clear from at all costs. I’m strongly repelled by a story that twists and turns so drastically, you have no time to feel any emotion or attachment to the characters at hand.
Dark Hearts only saving grace was how beautiful it was. The cinematography was stylized to the story, crafting a sultry, dark landscape for the scenes to play out in. The quality was obvious in every shot with precise lighting and perfect dimension. This must be where the $3 million dollar budget went. Everything felt soft, dim, and mysterious. Along with the camera work, nearly every scene featured a large, glorious painting representing Colson as an artist. They were awe-inspiring, and if I had the name of the actual artist, I would list it here. And of course, it goes without saying the casting director chose very attractive people for us to look at. Because of the mismatch between the film’s appearance and the painful dialogue, I would recommend simply watching this movie on mute to save you the stomach ache.
I don’t like being unkind, in any sense, but when individuals are given the opportunity and resources to produce a film for the masses, they should do their damnedest to make it worth our wild. It’s practically depressing to know how beautifully crafted this film appears, and then to hear the foulest construct of dialogue ruin and confuse every scene. Please, just watch Twilight instead.