HEARTBEATS

 

THE PLOT THUS FAR

The story of three close friends who are involved in a love-triangle.

 

WHAT WE THOUGHT

The film’s director Xavier Dolan plays Francis, a gay Montrealer who becomes infatuated with a young socialite named Nicolas, played by Niels Schneider. Instantaneously, Francis’ close friend Marie, played by Monia Chokri develops feelings of her own for Nicolas. As the tumultuousness of love for Nicolas deepens for the two of them their close friendship begins to suffer. The two friends become embroiled in a struggle to please Nicolas who appears to represent Dolan’s own ideal.

Featuring slowed-down long trailing shots, coloured cinematography, brilliantly focused sensual scenes, retro music and even an extremely overdone love poem to cigarettes and smoke. After basically ripping off Christopher Doyle’s cinematography Xavier Dolan pasted together a piece of post-post-modernism, but without any of the subtle magic, power and enticement of Kar-Wai’s original. The additional issue lies with the overusing of slow shots coupled with barrages of music, that lack ingenuity or class, instead bring about a repetitiveness problem and most of time seem like a tasteless parody of Doyle. Nonetheless I would go as far as to say that Dolan intended such strong borrowing after noticing the strong story similarities, as both movies are not about love itself, but about the longing for love.

Leaving the issue of homage, the movie does show a lot of promise on a purely plot level and to some extent this promise is fulfilled. After slowly plodding out the story itself it does manage to engage, even though neither Dolan or Chokri have the stage presence or impact to actually convey their emotion. Almost no tension is created between characters and I found most scenes lacking dramatically. The only actor who managed to deliver was Schneider, but his role was being an egocentric and slightly clueless love-boy, so as such he was a secondary character.

The DVD comes with no special features of regard. However, the A/V Quality is pretty solid and sports a sharp transfer for standard definition. What kills me is how the audio levels on the Dolby track remain so unbalanced even in a Region 1 release. For a dialogue driven drama, I often struggled to hear important moments. Still, I’d recommend a rental.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!

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