Volume 93, Issue 24

Wednesday, October 13, 1999


Random Hearts on target

Canadian indie music mainstays call it quits

Plastic Kathie Lee melts under media limelight

Nickelback effort needs no refund

Random Hearts on target

Photo by David James
HARRISON, IF YOU DON'T FINISH YOUR BOOZE, THERE'LL BE NO PEANUTS FOR DESSERT. Harrison Ford and Kristen Scott Thomas drown their sorrows together after the deaths of their spouses in Random Hearts.

By Chris Theijsmeijer
Gazette Writer

Hollywood has traditionally dominated the film market not by pioneering but perfecting all of the elements of modern day popular film. Random Hearts perfectly personifies this enhancement – every cinematic element of the film is excellent.

Harrison Ford stars as Dutch, a police sergeant who discovers his wife's adultery when she dies with her lover on an airplane destined for their love nest.

Kristin Scott Thomas plays Kay Chandler, a congressperson running for re-election whose husband is the lover killed in the crash. Dutch's need to discover how far this deception goes is what ultimately brings the two together.

Kay is caught between being honest to her voters and protecting her daughter while hiding the secret from the press, while Dutch's investigating career begins to fall apart in the face of his wife's deception. Every scene bleeds with Kay's denial and Dutch's grief until eventually culminating with their unlikely romance.

Weathered film veteran and Oscar winner Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa, Tootsie) flexes his directorial muscle, resulting in an emotional roller-coaster which proves to be a wonderful ride.

The script is as finely tuned as an Indy 500 car and it contains dozens of memorable lines. All the hidden connotations and allusions almost demand return viewings.

The editing is crisp and continuous, peppered with just enough juxtapositions to enhance the tempo of the story. The directing and cinematography also show the sure hand of Pollack's mastery.

On a more superficial note, it's fun to see Ford and Scott Thomas bang each other around in a much touted automobile love scene. Watching this scence makes it easy to understand why the cast reportedly had first aid on hand while shooting. The couple's chemistry is tangible – it's hard not to get a few warm snugglies when you see Kay peer into Dutch's eyes.

Ford and Scott Thomas are big stars with proven screen appeal and they put in great performances. However, the film is guilty of the Hollywood trend where aging male actors are put opposite much younger female leads. Apparently, industry types feels this is a stereotype that warrants no change.

One other small complaint is that Random Hearts lacks full character development. The audience doesn't get to see each of the characters' ultimate moment of healing which help guide them through their experiences. They may be all smiles together in the end, but the movie fails to show how they got there.

While it's not a flashy media flourish like the recent Stigmata or a pastel picture such as Grey Owl, Random Hearts is a subtle and engaging love story that makes for an entertaining and thought-provoking watch.

If you're not too bummed out by the implications of the storyline, this is an exceptional film which deserves to be seen.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999