Words by Daniel Knighton
Ruined Heart is not the ideal movie for a traditional movie theatre or home theatre viewing experience. And no, it doesn't really pass as the traditional art film either. However, you could say it works successfully as a music video. Or, perhaps, even some kind of multi-effort demo reel.
All flair with some fashion, Heart is an international set piece hosted in the Philippines by home director Khvan, featuring Japan’s own badass Tadanobu Asano with Mexican hottie Nathalia Acevedo as the two attractive showoffs in the center of the lens, managed regularly beautifully by Aussie cinematographer Christopher Doyle.
There isn’t much of a story to talk about. Some dead bodies, people pointing guns at each other, running, the lovers, some other lovers; also some orgies with bands playing, and midgets, the guy holding an umbrella for some scenes, holding an umbrella and wearing a horse mask in others. How about hiring a screenwriter guys?
That would probably detract from the point. All the activity, which is ninety percent buried under a soundtrack of oldies and psych music, moves along the harsh Philippines urban landscape in a heroin trip-like state. It has some flakes of Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain, but it mostly hums and styles around like the film’s nearest doppelgänger, Fallen Angels (also shot by Christopher Doyle).
A combination of this sort certainly is some kind of original experience. It also does suggest a lucid cultural underbelly to the Philippines worth exploring further. There is some eye-candy choreography followed by colourful locations balanced with colourful props. Asano runs around some scenes holding a camera pointing at himself, interestingly taking what’s behind the fourth wall and holding it in the palm of his hand. It suggests a cognitive disassociation with self, paralleling to the lovers’ experience in the film, who we don’t know why, nor do they ask themselves why, they’re there.