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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Film Review: The Heart Is Deceitful Above all Things

"Um, mommy... can I put my boys clothes back on now?"

The Heart Is Deceitful Above all Things (15)
Dir. Asia Argento

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can fathom it?‘
Jeremiah 17 v19 – an excellent biblical verse, worthy of contemplation even though it goes on say something like: ‘As the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not, so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.’ – let that be your lesson of the day.

Anyway before I tell you what I thought of it you have to read should this info (from ACIN) about the back-story to this Asia Argento directed film.

“The story of young author JT Leroy is one for the ages. In 2000, he published a semi-autobiographical novel called Sarah and literary critics raved. A year later, his second novel, The Heart Is Deceitful Above all Things, saw equally critical acclaim. The books were depictions of a terrible upbringing and the all-too-evil things that people do to each other. Celebrities not only read Leroy’s works, but they claimed friendships with the elusive writer. He was actually spotted at various functions, interviews, and press events. Leroy also went on to write the powerful script for Gus Van Sant’s Elephant. Eventually, actress Argento (Land of the Dead) acquired the rights to adapt and direct The Heart Is Deceitful.
“Just last month, it was revealed by The New York Times revealed that Leroy was a completely fictitious identity. In fact, he was a she, a woman named Laura Albert, and that Albert’s sister-in-law was playing Leroy in public. None of this makes this film (or the novels) any less believable. In fact, I found it nearly impossible to take my eyes off the screen. “

This is a gut wrenching, head spinning exposition of evilness on a personal level – an all too believable nightmare, that is as hard to watch as it is to look away. Young Jeremiah’s (the story’s hero played initially by Jimmy Bennett and then by twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse), life is intentionally torn apart by his vile selfish crack whore mother Sarah (Asia Argento). Taken from his stable, loving foster home, he is coerced into a dreadful life of abuse, a catalogue of misery, basically a soul breaking road trip that takes in everything that is wrong with human nature…Even when he is temporarily sent to live with his freakily-Christian grandparents (Peter Fonda and Ornella Muti), he suffers further degradation and abuse in a way that only fundamentalist religious types could ever dish out…

Nowhere it seems is there salvation for Jeremiah and as a parent, it was all I could do not to weep at the vileness exhibited towards to this innocent little boy. The Heart Is Deceitful is a film that should rock you (and I don’t just mean the excellent original score by Sonic Youth or the sight of Marilyn Manson without his make up!). This might not be nice, but it is powerful and moving, fascinating, challenging and bold. Isn’t that what cinema at its best should be?

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (hell exists and some people are already living it...)

"Miss Agento... film director or not, you can't run through the steets naked"

Darkmatters: H O ME

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the preview to this is fantastic. i'm sorry i missed it when it was in limited release. any idea what the sonic youth (?) track is in the preview?