Wednesday, March 11, 2015

This Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

The best scene in the serial-killer-thriller Next Time I'll Aim For The Heart is the first scene, which drops us down in the middle of a real dark night of the soul and, with some precise and disorienting camera-work, deeply unnerves. Two girls become one girl, two bikes become a bike and a car, and we spin and the streets stream outwards and every inch sneaking outside of the camera's view seems teeming with its own creeping-in shadows. It's really a triumph of tension, and the rest of the film thrums well enough riding along on its echo, but eventually an absence of... well the only word I can come up with is "decency" - an absence of decency takes hold, and the perspective strains, rings somewhat hollow. 

It's a movie that wants to have it both ways - it wants to be a singular character-study about a man with no actual character. It wants to minutely detail what it early on decides is inexplicable. The victims all remain hazy, and Guillaume Canet's serial-killer-cop, by choice, does too. When the film focuses on action it's (my apologies) killer - director Cédric Anger (a former critic for Cahiers) clearly knows from his Hitchcock beats and there are some great set-pieces. But they don't really emotionally connect - I mean, what is there to connect to? 

Maybe if it were funnier? It's a story that's crying out for the darkest of comedy - there's a scene where Canet goes door to door flashing a sketch of his own face asking people if they recognize him that the audience lapped up with hungry snorts, but honestly we all just sounded kind of desperate in our laughter by that point. There's an American Psycho inside of this movie begging to be free; now that's a film that found a way to exuberantly detail endless internal nothingness with a spring in its step. Heart never finds that sort of tonal footing - maybe next time aim a little harder, is all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing review, I totally share your POV! The idea was ok, details are superb so as the adaptation by Anger but I don't know...I felt no connection with the character or the story. His victims deserved more attention on the script, Canet's performance was scary but too meaningless, I wasn't convinced in any moment. It was just acting if you know what I mean.

It will be extremely hard for this film to have life outside France, where it wasn't even a rentable at the B.O. It's fine but I felt a little bit unsatisfied, it lacked emotions and naturality by the leading man.