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RANDOM HEARTS

SYNOPSIS:
'Dutch' Van Den Broeck (Harrison Ford) of Washington Police Internal Affairs, is devoted to his wife, Peyton (Susanna Thompson). Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas) a New Hampshire Congresswoman running for re-election, is devoted to her husband Cullen (Peter Coyote) and their daughter Jessica (Kate Mara). Their busy lives are gatecrashed when a plane on the way to Miami plunges into the ocean, killing all passengers - including the couple in 3A and B, traveling on Mr and Mrs tickets. As the real identity of this couple is revealed, the trust on which the two marriages have been based dissolves. Dutch and Kay are thrown together in a tramuatic moment of their lives and grapple with the consequences of their loss in a unique way.

Review by Louise Keller:
"Powerfully dramatic and richly complex, Random Hearts is a gripping thriller of the heart, where the action lies in the crevices of our emotions. Sydney Pollack's masterful romantic drama is filled with the dynamics of suspense, anticipation and passion, as we journey on life's rocky highway, surrounded by betrayal, truth and the unexpected. Pollack's intelligence and sensitivity is showcased in this beautifully written and realised questioning of reality. When a crucial strand on the emotional cobweb on which we exist snaps, we teeter on the edge, waiting for the domino effect.

This is a magnificent film for grown ups a satisfying exploration of the human condition when we are most vulnerable. Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas are extraordinary, their performances outstanding. Ford displays a depth of complexity never seen before on screen; Dutch is the policeman who seeks out lies for a living, yet fails to see the biggest lie of all. Scott Thomas' Kay lives on the platform of politics one where lying is commonplace and turning a blind eye is mandatory. The collision of contrasting ways of dealing with the truth and reality is achingly real, the development of the relationship riveting human drama.

Tension and anticipation is created by the fact that we are privy to information that the characters have yet to discover. The burden is almost overwhelming. We agonise and empathise in a search for the impossible.

Random Hearts is a project from the best of the best. The melancholy of the muted jazz trumpet reflects the mood, the effective editing adds pace to a visually splendid work. Delving beyond the gloss and peeling away life's superficialities, Random Heart is generously engrossing, emotionally fulfilling. My kind of film.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Served by a superb, sensitive but robust jazz score by Grusin, Random Hearts is a film for grown ups, filled with familiar pain and joy, set in the rugged, challenging terrain of the human heart - with unexpected elements. Unraveling with controlled pace, the story is engaging and accessible, a pain studded narrative of discovery for the two spouses - each responding differently to their loss.

It's not a love story, but it's not an action film, either; it's a subtle study of human drama and Pollack's intelligence guides the story as well as the performances. Scott Thomas is vulnerable and strong as expected, but Ford's is a richer, deeper character than he is usually required to build.

As Pollack points out in our INTERVIEW, it's unexpected casting, and his character's reaction to the loss of his wife is how most writers would create the female lead character.

But don't mistake that for a wimp; far from it. The camera and lighting work to bring us close or set up context in a variety of shots that elegantly defy any overt 'style' but offer us substance. Those elements and the quality of the screenplay - economical, eloquent, but without pretension - combine to give us the satisfaction that all good story telling is meant to do. While holding our attention, Random Hearts also touches us with its sincere humanity; there's no schmalz (certainly no schmaltzy ending) and no false sentimentality. See it now on the big screen, and when it comes out on DVD, buy it.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

See Andrew L. Urban's interview with

SYDNEY POLLACK

RANDOM HEARTS (M)
(US)

CAST: Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Susanna Thompson, Peter Coyote

DIRECTOR: Sydney Pollack

PRODUCERS: Sydney Pollack, Marykay Powell

SCRIPT: Kurt Luedtke (adapted by Darryl Ponicsan from the novel by Warren Adler)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Rousselot AFC

EDITOR: William Steinkamp ACE

MUSIC: Dave Grusin

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Barbara Ling

RUNNING TIME: 131 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 21, 1999

VIDEO/DVD RELEASE: April 19, 2000

VIDEO/DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment







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