Heartlands (2002) Review (PG-13)

What a great find of a movie! I saw this one on Netprix, who have a vast, seemingly endless sea of ‘straight to the trash bin’ films. It seems as if all of the good ones are only available on DVD and the good ones that ARE available are mostly those that everyone has seen a hundred times. Maybe it just feels that way… Is this my earliest digression, ever? No. I think I’ve digressed in a blog title before… Now I’m digressing in my digression.  Back to what I was saying…Every now and again (if you’re a subscriber) you can stumble across a little known nugget that exceeds any and all expectations . Even sitting through all of the crap to get to that one good film makes it all almost worth it. Almost. This is one such case.

I think I last saw Michael Sheen in Tron:Legacy as the obnoxious David Bowie stand-in. Although I hated what he was doing in that one, I do think he’s a pretty good actor. Here he  plays Colin, a quiet, seemingly happy man, both personally and professionally. He adores his wife, runs a small business and is a dedicated darts enthusiast.  At least, he thinks he’s happy until he realizes his wife is having an affair right under his nose. When he confronts her, she leaves him. Worse still, her new man is who he thought was a friend who also is the captain of their local darts team (doesn’t everyone have a local darts team?). He replaces Colin just before they go on their Darts Tourney in Blackpool (with his wife), to which Colin has been eagerly anticipating for quite some time. It appears to be too much for our hero to take, until another friend encourages him to fight for what he wants. Colin leaves his small business in the hands of some neighborhood kids, riding off on his trusty scooter to win his wife back.

Heartlands is a road film and  you can expect certain things in a road film: an array of disparate characters that the protagonist will meet along the way (generally eager to help the wayward traveller)… It will possess a hopeful spirit where the world is seen with new eyes through the lead… There will be grand visuals of the great outdoors (wherever that may be) en route to the destination… And  ultimately the lead will realize he wants something different than what he thought he wanted at the beginning. You get all of that here, but you get a few surprises, too.

Sheen milks the timid nature of Colin for all its worth. He’s very sympathetic and very much the ‘innocent’ on a journey without it being too cliche. Mark Strong turns up to bolster my theory that he’s appeared in every British film made in the last decade. He’s great here as always. The film isn’t perfect, though. I thought it slowed down a little too much towards the end. It also probably could have eliminated some scenes like the kids in the shop while he’s away. It had nothing to do with the story, unless you say the person who ends up with that shop would have a mess to clean up. Maybe they were trying to be figurative. I did enjoy this very much, though, and admired how many of the shots were framed. It made the movie/world look ‘big’. It’s worth seeing if you’re looking for a film with an indie feel.

4.5 of 5


5 Responses to “Heartlands (2002) Review (PG-13)”

  1. I drop a comment whenever I especially enjoy a article on a website
    or if I have something to add to the discussion.
    It’s a result of the fire communicated in the post I looked at. And after this article Heartlands (2002) Review (PG-13) Crash! Site. I was excited enough to drop a thought 😛 I do have 2 questions for you if you tend not to mind. Is it just me or do a few of these responses look like left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I’d like to keep
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    • Crash! Landen Says:

      Hey! Thanks for posting… You have to weed through the Spam to get to occasional comments. Some of them have been thoughtful. Some haven’t. I even answer the Spam sometimes.

      And I’m only on this blog and Twitter… I GUESS I have a facebook page but I rarely ever visit that nexus of realities…

  2. no energy all ready

  3. I’m a big Michael Sheen fan but I still haven’t seen Tron so I can’t defend that. Did you ever see “The Damned United” or “Frost V. Nixon”?

    • Crash! Landen Says:

      Not yet… I think ‘The Damned United’ is in my Neprlix queue. If I ever watched ‘Frost/Nixon’ it would probably be the 1977 version (the real thing), though.
      I’ve seen maybe 10 movies with Sheen appearing, but most of them he either didn’t have a major role (Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator) or the movie sucked (Uinderworld, Alice In Wonderland, Mary Reilly).
      And I didn’t mention him in my review, but Mark Addy was great in this, too. I didn’t even recognize who he was even though he’s a somewhat familiar face (A Knight’s Tale, Robin Hood).
      Back to Sheen, I’ll see ‘The Damned United’ at some point…

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