RANDOM HEARTS

Directed by Sidney Pollack. USA. 1999.


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For a film full of such promise, Sidney Pollack’s Random Hearts is surprisingly and unfortunately disappointing. Despite offering moving and believable performances Harrison Ford and Kristen Scott Thomas are betrayed by a plot that begins strongly but takes a nosedive, crashing and burning long before the end credits role.

Police lieutenant Dutch (Ford) and aspiring politician Kay (Scott Thomas) are both happily married- or so they think. One fatal plane crash later, a bit of investigation on Dutch’s behalf and the mere fact that their partners were sat next together heading to destinations differing from what they’d told their spouses and the truth begins to emerge. The rest of the film concerns itself with Dutch and Kay trying (badly) to suppress their obvious (and at times quite uninspiring) attraction for each other- a relationship as doomed as the plane carrying their respective spouses.

Dutch becomes obsessed with the details of his wife’s infidelity; Kay on the verge of election into congress and a fifteen-year-old daughter to contend with plays her hand with more caution. Despite some very heart wrenching and emotive scenes whereby Kay and Dutch retrace the steps their partners would have made if they had survived, the story begins to lose its motivation and direction. We don’t care why Dutch’s wife and Kay’s husband were having an affair; we don’t care if they had a secret apartment or even where it is. Ultimately we don’t care at all for these characters, our sympathies have no anchor or a place to rest. Our emotions and feelings aren’t even challenged. So in the end a story with such potential is lost. Ford and Scott Thomas’ presence is the redeeming feature of Random Hearts, the chemistry and tension between them is at time electric, diffused only by a story and plot that doesn’t quite know where its going or what its trying to say.

Emma Dixon 
 
 
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