Dark Hearts (2012) ***
D: Rudolf Buitendach
C: Kyle Schmid, Sonja Kinski, Lucas Till, Rachel Blanchard, Goran Visnjic, Juliet Landau, Richard Edson, Oscar Best
Plot Synopsis: When struggling artist Colson, finds his muse in sultry singer Fran, their daring romance spirals out of control into a dangerous game of deception and betrayal.
REVIEW: Dark Hearts is a complete and utter mess, but a glorious mess. The film not only tackles a Lolita ish type story, but there's elements from various movies & stories including, but not limited to, Dracula, A Bucket of Blood and even Adam & Eve with a dash of social commentary & film noir thrown in for good measure.
Things start out rather routinely with a perfectly nice guy falling for the wrong woman. She warns him that she's dangerous and to stay away. He ignores her. This leads to the two of them having sex several times. As the object of obsession, Sonja Kinski (daughter of Klaus Kinski) has a magnetic presence. It's easy to see why people are falling for her left & right and the chemistry between her and Kyle Schmid is believable.
This story arc leads to a series of sub-plots. Schmid's character, an artist, finds his muse in Kinski. The catch is, he uses human blood to create his portraiture. These paintings become a runway success and no one seems to care that human blood was used to create these paintings! This part of the film comes across as bit of an indictment into how the public is willing to let public figures gets away with almost anything, as long as they continue to deliver on their talent.
Eventually, our main character and his younger brother (played by Lucas Till) come up with the idea of hitting up homeless people for blood with his sweet old girlfriend not fully delivering on the money promised to these people. I guess the rich do leech off the poor after all! Over the course of looking for blood, younger brother falls for older brother's woman and even videotapes them doing the dirty. A ridiculous plot development if ever there was one, but thankfully, the cast plays scenes like this with a straight face.
As things progress, the main character's mental state starts to spiral out of control. He becomes dangerously obsessive of Kinski, especially when he realizes that she much prefers his younger brother. He comes to the realization that he would rather share her with his brother then lose her. As all of this is occurring, a series of blackmails & manipulations begin to unfold. One of the character's reveals her lesbian intentions for Kinski's character. Bodies start to pile up and the plot loses all control and anything & everything that the writer can dream up is thrown into the mix.
Could a film like this be defended? In a way, yes. It's well acted. The cinematography is striking. The score is effectively utilized. Overall, it's a handsomely produced film, but come on. Give me a break. This is a B movie that wallows in tawdriness and over the top grandeur while outfitted in dress clothes. There's no reason why any of this should've worked, but it does, because director Rudolf Buitendach and the film's principal cast members are actually present in the film and absorbed by the film's myriad of situations just as much as we are as an audience. [Not Rated] 84 mins.
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