Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Heart Machine: Movie Review

Romantic drama that's running on empty.

The Heart Machine is a romantic drama thriller. One that is entirely driven by one thought; one part of a plot where characters are minimal and supporting characters and storylines are nonexistent. Cody (John Gallagher Jr.) is an awkward love-struck man in Brooklyn who’s in a long-distance relationship. Virginia (Kate Lyn Sheil) is his Skype girlfriend living in Berlin. Or so she says. She might be lying and Cody’s starting to suspect that she’s actually in New York. 2014

Directed by: Zachary Wigon

Screenplay by: Zachary Wigon

Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Lyn Sheil

The film is Cody’s search for Virginia in real-life. He’s determined to figure out where she’s living and who she really is. And that’s the whole movie. We do see Virginia’s side to the story, but we don’t learn anything else about these characters other than their relationship personas – Cody’s obsessed and Virginia lies. However, the film did handle that well. Just like Cody, I too wanted to know where Virginia’s living, what she’s lying about and then what’s going to happen.

The atmosphere was appropriately creepy. There was an uneasy feel to the music and a trepidation with every step the characters took. I liked being one step behind them, but after awhile there’s a nagging suspicion that you’re not actually going anywhere and that you’re taking this pointless, precarious walk with strangers because you really don’t know these characters after all. And that is indeed the problem with this otherwise engaging and unique independent film.

Cody’s determination to uncover Virginia’s lies turns into out-and-out obsession and he makes some very questionable decisions – let’s describe it as unsociable – in his attempt to track down Virginia’s whereabouts. Virginia herself is a lying, hedonistic tramp who has no clue how to have a relationship. As perfect as they both think they are for one another based on their online relationship, neither one of them deserve the other person. This would be the perfect example of a dysfunctional relationship.

The characters just became too far removed from relatable and compelling people that interest is lost in them. All that’s left is the hanging question of what is Virginia up to? The answer is very anticlimactic compared to the thriller and mysterious tone suggested earlier. It’s a very fitting ending and captures the coldness of everything that came before, but it can be hard to like.

The bareness of the film becomes a bit of a detriment after the characters repel us from the plot, but there certainly is an engaging and interesting thread that gives the film its very unique and independent feel. The Heart Machine keeps on running but the lack of love suggests this heart is running on empty.

Similar Titles:

The One I Love (2014) - One part reality, one part mystery, one part love.

The Best of Me (2014) - The worst of Nicholas Sparks.