Random Hearts review

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Warren `The War Of The Roses' Adler's 1984 novel promises great things as it reaches the big screen. Both Ford and Scott Thomas were looking to stretch their acting wings with a more adult drama and early rumours suggested the film contained some extremely hot sex scenes between a couple displaying astonishing onscreen chemistry.

For the first 40 minutes Random Hearts lives up to its promise. Dutch is introduced as a tough cop with a loving wife, while Kay is seen as a dedicated congresswoman, wife and mother who's about to start campaigning for re-election. As news of the plane crash starts to leak through, neither Kay nor Dutch think of it as affecting them. As far as they know, their partners are elsewhere, and news reports flash details of the disaster into the background of their lives, until Dutch suspects that his wife might be involved. As the two are drawn together, it is Dutch's obsession with finding out the truth which drives the relationship forward. His fixation becomes dark and twisted, making him an all-too-human character, and not an entirely likeable one. Neither is Scott Thomas' isolated Kay the most affable of people.

But as soon as the inevitable love affair rears its ugly head (and it is ugly), everything goes wrong. Suddenly there are long close-ups of Ford doing his charming sloppy smile and Scott Thomas goes from bristling hostility to helpless, girly wimp. Ford veers off from the central plot to get involved in a detective case, which only exists to prove that - - hey - - he may be getting soppy, but he's still action Harrison. Although he could lose the earring.

The middle section drags interminably and the need to drive the pair towards some kind of happy ending makes the end section equally unpleasant. Kay comes off the worse, with the storyline insisting that she's unfit in both love and work, while Dutch emerges as a martyr and loveable good guy. If the film had dared to channel its stars towards something less conventional we could have been talking Academy Awards. Instead, we're talking Tinseltown pap.

Ford and Scott Thomas' Oscar dreams expire as Pollack bungles this romantic drama. What should have been a dark exploration of the human soul becomes a missed opportunity, despite the best efforts of the charismatic leads.

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