Heart Review

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After a jealousy induced heart heart attack and subsequent transplant, Gary seeks out the mother of the young donor. She turns out to be psychotic, and things are about to get bloody.


Few would deny that Jimmy McGovern is one of this country's most powerful television writers, not least for bringing a social conscience to the whodunnit genre with Cracker. Though his only previous cinematic excursion, the Antonia Bird-directed Priest, was better suited to the small screen, its heart was in the right place. This, ironically, doesn't appear to have one.

Given that the story is told in a flashback and the film opens with a dazed, blood-caked Reeves clutching a heart in a paper bag, the intrigue lies only in the how and why. Can you guess whose it is yet?

The action relies on brutality for its dramatic shocks - something Cracker (which McDougall also directed) always skilfully side-stepped - while Eccleston appears unconvinced, Hardie is chiefly there to have copious sex, and Reeves does an awful lot of staring. Meanwhile, McGovern is too busy building in "McGovernisms" (old man singing in the pub; incest; Hail Marys) to notice that his plot is leaking. Two distinctive gags salvage his reputation (one involving a jobsworth ticket-collector) but a TV audience would have turned over by then.

Heart is a conventional, Hollywood-influenced schlocker dressed as something more profound and authentic, betrayed by cheap puns in the script ("I've had a change of heart") and in the soundtrack.