Friday, 25 June 2010

The Good Heart - EIFF - Cineworld - 23/6/10

Brian Cox delivers a brilliant performance as misogynist, misanthrope, racist, sexist, homophobic “Jacque” who runs a dingy bar where “walk ins” and women are NOT welcome.

Jacques has a problem, his heart is no good and he suffers heart attacks with such regularity that he is known by name to all the hospital staff...who all hate him as much as he hates them. On one visit to the hospital he finds himself in the bed next to a timid young homeless youth who has failed in his attempt to end his own life. For reasons known only to Jacque he decides to find him after his release and take him under his wing as heir to his kingdom...the former oyster bar that now passes as his pub.

The young man in question is Lucas (Paul Dano) and he is, at first, less than delighted by the offer of free room and board with the curmudgeonly Jacque. As time passes the two form a strange kind of love for one another and all appears to be well until late one night when a distressed, French air hostess called April (Isild Le Besco) arrives soaking wet in the bar and crying. She has lost her job for being afraid of heights. Lucas takes her in much to the disgust and annoyance of Jacques.

Following a row between the two Lucas banishes April only to discover that Jacque has taken to her and feels that he has been a fool to let her go. At this point Jacque is placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant and following another heart attack appears to be on his way out of this world he so loathes forever.

The film is soaked in dark hues but it never feels cold, the bleak bar that Jacque calls home looks inviting and otherworldly. With a cast of characters including a “chimnist” and a “stimulator” (respectively a chimney sweep and a gigalo) it feels like this is a hipster hang out as opposed to the drinking den of choice for people who are one step up the ladder from being a bum.

A sad but heart warming ending ensures that “The Good Heart” will be remembered as much for it’s story as it will be for the masterful performance of Cox.

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