I’ve really been digging watching films with the trend of going behind-the-scenes with the investigation on famous murder cases, ala The Black Dahlia and Zodiac, so I had to give this one a day in court.
For those of you not aware of the case, they “Lonely Hearts Killers” were a pair of swindlers-turned-murderers who targeted rich-but-single women selected through personal classified ads in the 1940s.
What first caught my attention was that James Gandolfini was cast in a non-mafia type role, which is always refreshing. Instead, he’s paired with John Travolta as a homicide detective. The scary part? This film was apparently shot right before Travolta did Hairspray and it is difficult to tell the two stars apart in silhouette.
The really amazing part – Travolta didn’t shuffle off even one dance step during the entire film. I used to think it was in his rider that he had to dance in every film he did, if even just a two-step. At least, it’s always seemed like that to me.
Anyway, on to the actual film… Stars aside, I wasn’t expecting much. I hadn’t even heard about the film until last night, so I figured there must have been a reason for that. So I was very pleasantly surprised with it.
Unlike Zodiac, it didn’t drag on and on with all the little details but rather zipped through quickly and alternated between getting to know the cops and getting to know the killers – nice to know that everyone involved had some major issues.
It was bloody, yet tastefully done. After all, it was a film about two brutal killers so it had to be a little messy, but they didn’t go overboard with it. Loved the story, loved the way it was done.
One complaint I did have was towards the end when the killer couple got their just desserts via Sing Sing’s electric chair. The “New York Fish Fry”, as Gandolfini’s character calls it. For the most part, the scenes were done well but lost credibility on some technical points… like unshaven heads that did not appear to catch fire. But that’s just me being a stickler for details (and a bit of an execution history buff.)
Overall, I thought it was an excellent film and would seriously recommend it to anyone interested in true-crime films.
Film information: Lonely Hearts