x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Heartless: a confusing urban horror, but with a credible lede

His first film since the 1995 The Passion of Darkly Noon, Ridley's Heartless is a head-scratching experience, high on atmosphere but low on logic.

Jim Sturgess as Jamie in Heartless.
Jim Sturgess as Jamie in Heartless.

Heartless
Director: Philip Ridley
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Joseph Mawle, Clémence Posey, Luke Treadaway
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His first film since the 1995 The Passion of Darkly Noon, Ridley's Heartless is a head-scratching experience, high on atmosphere but low on logic.

An urban horror set in East London, think Angel Heart meets Adulthood, Sturgess's disfigured loner, Jamie, begins to unravel after his mother is murdered by a gang. With Jamie then haunted by demonic "hoodies" with lizard-like faces, not to mention striking a Faustian pact to remove the facial birthmark that's hamstrung him all these years, Ridley smartly taps into middle-class fears that feel all too real after last year's London riots.

Sadly, with a third act as muddled as its protagonist, Heartless never delivers when it really matters. Frustrating and flawed, at least a credible Sturgess escapes with his reputation unharmed.