1 April 2009 | Chrysanthepop
Too Hollywoodized Version Of A Harrowing True Story
Todd Robinson's 'Lonely Hearts' is a dramatization of the harrowing atrocities committed by the infamous Lonely Hearts lovers. The sepia tone, setting and props do give the look of the 40s but the language feels more contemporary.The film tells too parallel stories: that of the two brutal murderers and that of Elmer Robinson who is trying to cope with the loss of his wife.
The latter is boring mostly due to Travolta's poor performance (he looks uninterested almost during the entire running time) and the slow pace. The scenes at the police station fail to engage. Gandolfini is stuck with a cliché while Scott Caan's character is very irritating. Laura Dern is criminally wasted The story of the two murderers is way too fictionalized (or is Hollywoodized a better word?) and way underdeveloped but it grabs the viewer's attention. Jared Leto is exceptional as Ray Fernandez. Salma Hayek is arguably miscast, physically, as she is the total opposite of the real Martha Beck, but if you're willing to let that go then her acting is terrific. Her version of Beck is alluring, manipulative, obsessive and cold blooded and she conveys all those characteristics quite naturally.
Pretty much all the characters are poorly developed. There is no background information on the killers (true accounts depict that Ray's drastic personality change may have been a result of brain injury).
Overall, 'Lonely Hearts' feels very much like an ordinary thriller. Even with a stellar cast it fails to stand out.