Projections - Movie Reviews

Random Hearts

When Dutch Van Den Broeck (Harrison Ford) enters the Miami lovers hide-a-way, his wife Peyton (Susanna Thompson) shared with Cullen Chandler (Peter Coyote) we hear Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's The Folks Who Live On The Hill on the sound track.  The music about a couple who share a life time together provides the clue that he is not willing to accept that his love has betrayed him.  Member of Congress, Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas) is more willing to accept the reality that her husband has been unfaithful.  Those differences drive Random Hearts.

Wife Peyton and husband Cullen are suddenly killed when their flight crashes into Chesapeake Bay.  In the aftermath of the crash, information comes to light in small pieces.  Dutch, a D.C. internal affairs cop, investigates; he searches for a reason.  Kay who has a fifteen year old daughter and a campaign in progress doesn't want to know any more than she must.  Dutch's search leads to Miami, a special place in D.C., further infidelity, taped messages and seething anger in both of the survivors.

Director Sydney Pollack's films have received 46 Academy Award nominations, but even with the strength of Harrison Ford and a skilled performance by Kristin Scott Thomas the relationship between the two fails to ignite.  What could have been significant, sensual and powerful scenes between the two, are clumsy and uncomfortable to watch. Perhaps its the two actors, but more likely the sophisticated Member of Congress just doesn't fit with the D.C. cop.  Their main attraction is anger with their dead, betraying spouses.

There are questionable problems in the film.  How does Dutch's wife get to travel as Chandler's wife, when photo ID's are necessary to get on a flight?  Kay Chandler is in a fight for re-election with a write-in-candidate and she is worried.  Who's kidding who?  A congressional candidate winning on a write-in when a live candidate is on the ballot doesn't have a prayer.  It would be even more difficult in the geographically large New Hampshire districts with many small towns.  Why make him a write in?  Why is Ford the more aggressive character; she is the one with power?  It appears that it's because he is Harrison Ford.  A reversal of positions might have made more sense.

Dutch's chase for the truth is interesting and the initial scenes which occur before each finds out their spouse is on the crashed flight are compelling, as are the moments of acceptance that each must face when learning of the tragedy.  The ending is also strong and impressive.  The center core which is built on Ford and Thomas weighs the story down and limits its success.

 
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Random Hearts
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