Heart

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Thriller

Jealousy wreaks havoc in this smart, unpredictable thriller. Pilot Gary Ellis (Christopher Eccleston), who suffers from chronic, degenerative heart troubles, is convinced his wife Tess (Kate Hardie) is having an affair. And eventually his constant suspicion and accusations drive Tess, a producer for a TV magazine program, into a sweaty liaison with one of...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Jealousy wreaks havoc in this smart, unpredictable thriller. Pilot Gary Ellis (Christopher Eccleston), who suffers from chronic, degenerative heart troubles, is convinced his wife Tess (Kate Hardie) is having an affair. And eventually his constant suspicion and accusations drive Tess, a producer for a TV magazine program, into a sweaty liaison with one of her staff writers, Alex Madden (Rhys Ifans). His own manic obsessing in turn drives Gary to a massive heart attack, and only the fortuitous availability of a donor heart pulls him back from the brink of death. At first the transplant seems to give both of them a new lease on life, but their old troubles have only gone underground and a new one is about to surface. Her name is Maria Ann McCardle (Saskia Reeves), and it was her son, Sean (Matthew Rhys), whose heart saved Gary. A promising young boxer in peak physical condition, he died in a motorcycle accident caused by a coked-up motorist (Anna Chancellor), and Maria, who had Gary when she was a teenager and devoted her entire life to him, is devastated. Gary tracks her down, driven by some obscure need to know what kind of man died so he could live. But she latches onto him, as though the beating of Sean's heart in Gary's chest has given her a reason to go on. Maria slowly insinuates herself into Tess and Gary's lives, asking personal questions, inviting herself to stay over, making it quietly clear that she doesn't entirely approve of them. Tess, already on edge because Alex isn't taking the end of their affair as graciously as she had hoped, becomes snappish and irritable. Gary, high-strung by nature, feels the need to defend Maria, even as her desperate clinging and inappropriate personal revelations make him deeply uncomfortable. And Alex pursues Tess relentlessly, sensing an opportunity in the turmoil at home. Since the movie opens with a sequence involving Maria, a bloody sack and a police station, we know from the start that everything is going to end badly. But it gets to its spectacularly bad ending through a series of hugely entertaining and unexpected twists and turns, right up to the closing coup de grace. Written by Jimmy McGovern, creator of the UK crime series Cracker, it's a rare gem that could all-too-easily get lost in the jumble of routine erotic thrillers.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Jealousy wreaks havoc in this smart, unpredictable thriller. Pilot Gary Ellis (Christopher Eccleston), who suffers from chronic, degenerative heart troubles, is convinced his wife Tess (Kate Hardie) is having an affair. And eventually his constant suspicio… (more)

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