BLOODSHOT HEART (Reviewed by Andrew L. Urban)

In a world where the difference between reality and fantasy can be hard to discern, Hans, a middle-aged driving instructor, attempts to shake off the manipulative grasp of his Italian mother and pursue a younger woman, Matilda, a musician renting a room in their apartment. As jealousy and infatuation spill over into psychosis, Hans hatches a violent plan to win the heart of Matilda and free himself from his mother’s clutches forever…

Review by Andrew L. Urban

Parish Malfitano’s Bloodshot Heart is an intriguing, edgy and compelling work in that rarely visited category of Australian film I call bravura arthouse. Unique in its imagery, and complemented by a surprising, varied and terrifically emotive score married to superb sound design, it is completely cinematic — and straight from the … er … heart. Relying on editing to blast through any resistance from audiences unprepared for adventure, Bloodshot Heart is as much about love and forgiveness as it is about grief, all tinged with violent emotions.

Richard James Allen — with his wondrous brush moustache almost stealing his scenes — leads a cast totally invested in their characters, and in the film’s changing rhythms and moods. Emily David makes maximum use of her expressive face as Matilda, as does Hazel Annikki Savolainen in the small but vital role of Sarah.

Dina Panozzo is memorable as Catherine, the Italian mother that defies stereotype. The two knockabout brothers insert their naturalistic characters into the film with surprising ease, and a touch of subtle darkly Aussie comic flair.

Weaving together fantasy and reality, the film combines melancholy and psychological thrills in unexpected ways. And to top it off, Malfitano lets the dark but tender final scene linger under the closing credits to great effect.

Bloodshot Heart is screening in major Australian cities throughout May and June.
For details and bookings see FanForce.

Andrew L. Urban has been a film journalist since 1985 and covered the Cannes Film Festival 20 times. With his wife Louise, he launched the award winning online movie magazine, Urban Cinefile, in 1997, which ran for 20 years. Since 2005, Andrew has presented MOVIES NOW, a contemporary movie appreciation course for Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education. Movies Now runs for 6 Wednesdays at a time, four times a year at Dendy Newtown, screening films (unannounced) prior to their commercial release, followed by a discussion with special filmmaker guests. The next course begins on May 12.