A man dies during what appears to be a botched robbery, and his heart winds up in the needful chest of Josh Lucas, single father to a young daughter with a rare bone disorder. This is obviously a man with more than his share of troubles, but things appear to be turning around. He has a new heart, and his daughter’s beautiful doctor (Lena Headey) really likes him. But then, when he crosses the path of a certain paramedic, his heart begins to beat furiously, deafening him. Before long, Lucas realizes that his donor was murdered, and the vengeful heart is leading him to the killers.
Produced by the Scott brothers, Ridley and Tony, this is, as one would expect, a handsome-looking piece, but has none of the editing frenzy that characterizes Tony’s work, and for that matter is more of a moody tone poem than is typical of the work of either brother. So director Micheal Cuesta is forging his own identity here, and is aided by genuinely moving performances, especially from Lucas, an actor who seems to be able to move effortlessly between hero and villain roles. Also on hand is Brian Cox, as the detective who realizes what is going on, and for reasons of his own encourages the heart’s vendetta. He’s always fun to watch, though his hard-boiled character here isn’t much of a stretch.
Though an engaging and moody thriller, the film could do with a bit more of a narrative drive – the revenge thread being rather too simplistic for the bulk of the film, and the villains are underdeveloped (poor Ulrich Thomsen, in particular, is criminally underused). Not perfect, then, and not quite up to its Poe inspiration, but very watchable and quite moving.
As mentioned above, this is a good-looking piece, and it is served very well by the transfer. The image is extremely sharp, and the colours have a wintry, starkly defined strength to them, as do the contrasts. Blacks and flesh tones are great, too, and there is no grain at all. The aspect ratio is the original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
The opening seconds announce that this is going to be a lot of fun in the audio department, as a deep, marrow-vibrating bass beats out the rhythm of an angry heart. Whenever Lucas is tormented by the haunted organ, the 5.1 surround kicks into overdrive, enveloping the listener with the same insistent beat. Environmental effects are also very good, and the music is enveloping without being intrusive. Dialogue reproduction is flawless.
No extras, and a film that is really only up to a one-time viewing (but that would still be a solid one), so put this on the rental, rather than purchase, list.