Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Michael Sheen
Mark Addy
Jim Carter
Jane Robbins.
Directors
Damien O'Donnell.
Screenwriters
Paul Fraser.
Running Time
98 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Heartlands
It's still grim up north, apparently.


submit to reddit


Plot
Gentle Colin is distraught when his wife Sandra leaves him for a local copper, Jeff. Plucking up all his courage, Colin revs up his moped, abandons his lonely corner shop and heads after them to Blackpool, where Jeff is competing in the Darts League Final.


Review
Heartlands arrives with a huge pedigree behind it - the director of East Is East, the co-writer of Shane Meadows' films, the executive producers of Trainspotting, Four Weddings And A Funeral and 24 Hour Party People, and a bit of financial backing from Miramax. And yet it falls some way short of all expectations.

Some will call it sweet and uplifting; others will say it's soft and predictable. If, by the end, it has managed to wrestle some warmth and affection from its gloomy depiction of England - smoke-filled pubs, grey motorways, down-trodden lives, Blackpool's Golden Mile turned into a drunk's theme park - then it has done so at a price.

There's more than a whiff of condescension about the film's treatment of the quaint quirks and limited aspirations of the regional working class. It's one thing to make a movie about people whose greatest dream is a weekend in Blackpool and the chance to meet Eric Bristow. It's another to laugh at them for those very reasons.

In the lead role, Michael Sheen rises above such criticism. With clown-like curly hair and a sad-sack demeanour, Colin's one of life's losers. It's only when he hits the road on his moped - hardly Easy Rider - that he realises people who meet him for the first time, who don't know him as a cuckolded figure of fun, actually think he's quite a cool guy.

It's greatly to Sheen's credit that he never lets the character slip into Mike Leigh-esque caricature, but nevertheless manages to get us rooting for him, on both his internal and external journeys.

Sheen aside, the real star is Alwin Kuchler's cinematography. Best known for his work with Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar), Kuchler finds bursts of colour and signs of life in the drabbest locations. Keep an eye out for the aerial shot of the camping ground and the delightful aside as Colin skips over the shadows of a wind turbine's rotating blades.


Verdict
With a pace to match Colin's moped, Heartlands is an episodic tale whose life lessons are a little too obvious. Once it gets out on the road, however, it picks up, but its grim view of working class England doesn't have East Is East's ensemble sparkle, despite Sheen's appealing star turn.


Reviewed by Alan Morrison


Related Reviews
Sounds
Heartlands
 

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)