Hearts and Bones

Daniel O'Sullivan | 25/04/2019

Director Ben Lawrence provides a deeply moving look into the lives of two very different men and effectively illustrates their connection through love, loss and their strive for salvation.

War photographer Daniel Fisher returns home baring the weight of his work on his shoulders and prepares for his next exhibition. However, he befriends a South Sudanese refugee who implores him to not exhibit the photos from a massacre in his village taken 15 years ago. As more photos bring old secrets to light, Daniel’s relationship with his wife and his new friend are tested, along with his own mental health.

Displaying the years of emotional turmoil from the experiences of being a war journalist, Hugo Weaving delivers a powerful performance as the lead of this film. His portrayal of such a troubled character is astounding as he fully commits to the role. Each panic attack, moral uncertainty or moment of brief contentment is painstakingly portrayed and is sure to have the audience fully immersed in the story. Andrew Luri, Hayley McElhinney and Bolude Watson also shine and do an exceptional job at portraying two very different marriage dynamics with their co-stars.

Director Ben Lawrence shows incredible restraint throughout the film with his approach to the visuals, as he never dives fully into the chaos of the subject matter, but instead uses elegant cinematography to visually showcase the nuance that comes with the complex lives of these two very different characters. Thankfully, this allows the audience to focus on the characters, who are truly the driving force of this film.

However, these factors are somewhat let down by an at times clunky script that does ultimately deliver a powerful message, but also slows down the pacing of the film and tests the audience’s patience. Ironing out these problematic sections would have elevated this film to even greater heights, though the audience would already be close to tears. 

Conclusion

Powerful performances, beautiful cinematography and poignant themes overcome a sometimes-clunky script to provide a truly moving film about human nature in Hearts and Bones.