Combustible Celluloid
Get the Poster
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
Download at i-tunes Download on iTunes
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles S. Dutton, Bonnie Hunt, Dennis Haysbert, Sydney Pollack, Richard Jenkins, Paul Guilfoyle, Susanna Thompson, Peter Coyote, Dylan Baker, Lynne Thigpen, Susan Floyd, Bill Cobbs, Kate Mara
Written by: Kurt Luedtke, Darryl Ponicsan, based on a novel by Warren Adler
Directed by: Sydney Pollack
MPAA Rating: R for brief violence, sexuality and language
Running Time: 133
Date: 10/08/1999

Random Hearts (1999)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Plane Dumb

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas star in Random Hearts, a kind of thriller/drama/romance that has an interesting idea and doesn't know where to go with it.

Ford (wearing an earring for some reason) plays a Washington D.C. Internal Affairs sergeant whose wife gets on a plane to Miami. The plane goes down but Ford can't figure out why his wife isn't on the passenger list. It dawns on him that she must have been registered as someone else's wife. That someone else turns out to be the husband of U.S. Congresswoman Kristin Scott Thomas. These two lonely losers get together and begin to develop a relationship.

Sometimes the movie takes its time and feels real, and at other times it makes huge leaps, leaving behind emotional realism and logic. On top of that, Ford is given a police case to work on during the dull spots; which naturally leads to the slam-bang climax that the movie otherwise would have lacked. The movie should have focused on only the relationship -- forget the cop stuff -- and its effect on Thomas' career in public office. It doesn't help that the dialogue by Kurt Luedtke (Out of Africa) is horrible. It's second-rate romance novel garbage.

The director is Sydney Pollack, who is beloved in Hollywood but who has yet to make a really outstanding movie in his long career. He is good with actors, but he constructs a movie like slapping together a bookcase. He goes for the cliché change-of-seasons montage and the quick-editing during the action scenes. Worse, his extras seem to draw attention to themselves.

The movie suffers from strange lapses of logic as well, such as our heroes having far more free time and money than their situations would allow them in real life. Character actors like Charles S. Dutton, Bonnie Hunt, Peter Coyote, and M. Emmet Walsh are wasted. Pollack himself has a supporting role, but is not nearly as engaging as he was in Eyes Wide Shut when he was guided by a great director. The mood of Random Hearts is so somber that I couldn't help thinking of the equally dim Double Jeopardy, which didn't take itself nearly as serious and was a lot more fun.

Movies Unlimtied