GFF 2012 Review – Red Heart
An effective romantic drama that you’ve seen before.
‘Red Heart’, a Kurdish romantic drama that’s a co-production between Norway and Iraq, is a movie you’ve seen before. The subject matter lacks originality and the execution isn’t much different. Yet there’s an amount of charm to the film based on the performances and the setting that keeps you engaged even though you know how it all ends.
The film follows Shirin and Soran, two teenagers in Iraq secretly in love with each other. But things take a turn for the worse when Shirin’s father vehemently goes against Soran’s proposal of marriage with Shirin after he selfishly wants her to marry someone else for his own advantage. That’s when Shirin and Soran decide to run away to Arbeel to start a new life away from their family. But hardships come in their way and the road isn’t as rosy as they made it out to be.
One of the most attractive qualities of the film is how beautifully it’s been shot, and that’s the key reason I actually went out to see the movie. It’s a professionally shot movie with picturesque locations and landscapes that add a lot to the story it’s trying to tell. The actors do a great job in their roles for the most part and there’s a charm to the early segments of the film that offset the fact that the plot isn’t moving forward at all. But then the plot kicks into gear right around the end of the first act and it’s actually gripping to watch the turn of events. One feat for the film is definitely the fact that you actually relate to the characters and root for them to succeed in their goal, which is half the battle won right there. Part of the reason for that is because they’re in a relatable situation and clearly being forced into things they don’t want to do. It’s a very watchable film because of that and keeps you engaged in the fate of these characters that you’re following.
But at the same time, I found the film to be incredibly generic in the progression of the plot. We’ve seen this film a hundred times before especially in independent festival-oriented films. An innocent girl runs away with a guy that she loves and imagines a happy life, but then hardships upon hardships begin to fall upon her. Sadly, ‘Red Heart’ doesn’t do anything different or new with that premise. That’s not to say that the events that take place aren’t gripping to watch – they just seem very manipulative and you can see them coming from a mile away. And that takes away a lot of power from those scenes.
‘Red Heart’ is an engaging romantic drama that does a lot of things right and has noble intentions, but it just doesn’t do things differently enough to really matter in a sea of similar independent films.