Lions Gate presents
Cold Heart (2001)
"This will never end."- Sean (Josh Holloway)
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Jeff Fahey, Josh Holloway
Other Stars: Hudson Leick
Director: Dennis Dimster-Denik
MPAA Rating: R for violence and strong sexuality
Run Time: 01h:33m:08s
Release Date: 2001-12-18
Genre: suspense thriller
DVD ReviewNot too long ago, I read a quote somewhere, by some author whose name I've forgotten, that basically said that a film is not a romance or a love story just because the characters use the word "love" every few lines. That's actually a clever insight, but in the case of Cold Heart, I'd alter that phrase to say a film is not a "sexy, stylish thriller" just because women are taking their clothes off every few scenes. In the direct-to-video market, there seems to be a mantra that a film is erotic if it contains: a) lots of atmospheric smoke; b) lots of sex; c) at least one murder, preferably with a knife. It doesn't matter what else is involved; these elements allow filmmakers to advertise their film as an "erotic thriller." I guess I could accept that, were it not for the fact that virtually every one of these movies is either a rip-off of another, far superior one or just plain horrible.
Cold Heart, is basically a watered down remake of Fatal Attraction, except it's about a wife having an affair with another man. Natassja Kinski stars as Linda, a woman who thinks her husband (Jeff Fahey) is repeatedly ignoring her and probably having an affair as well, though, mysteriously, he's such a jerk anyway that it hardly matters. To get back at him in her own private way, she sleeps with Sean (Josh Holloway), a guy she works with. When she ends the affair, Sean turns out to be nuttier than a Stuckey's Log, and begins stalking her, threatening her, and being generally menacing. Now, I'm going to assume that even casual movie viewers have probably seen this set-up a billion times. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's been at least a few, late-night, cable-TV movies with Natassja Kinski in them that are almost exactly like this one. It's a formula that's frankly worn out.
The whole thing just lacks any convincing effort. It's by-the-numbers, and really goes nowhere. It's one of those stories that squeaks by, riding on that generic genre of "adult entertainment" (i.e., lots of nudity and softcore porn, virtually no story), and reminds people of other movies. To be fair, someone, somewhere tried to do some interesting things here. There's a few plot twists and some moments where the directing almost achieves an artistic feeling. This quickly passes, though, in favor of something that feels like similar projects, but collapses under terrible acting and a variety of laughable problems. Perhaps the funniest element is that fact that Nastassja Kinski's body double for the sex scenes is so obviously not her. I hate to say it, but it all feels like a joke; as if whoever was making this really didn't care how it turned out, they simply turned the cameras on and whatever happened, happened.
Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The full-frame image is relatively free of major problems, but does suffer from some compression artifacts and fuzziness in the darker, more atmospheric sequences. The photography is some places is quite challenging for a DVD, and here there are some obvious quibbles with how it is generally presented.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: The stereo audio track is adequate and free of any problems, but is not particularly special or impressive. Like most stereo audio tracks, the musical score takes most of the priority. Dialogue and sound effects are all perfectly clear and audible, but rarely immerse the viewer beyond just accomplishing the basic requirements.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: There is a trailer featured on the disc, but no other supplements. The 24 chapter stops provide a good division of the film, and there are no real complaints with the presentation.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsThere's little to say about Cold Heart in the end. Should you see it on the rental shelves, skip it over. Thrillers with a tinge of supposed romance are a dime-a-dozen, but very few carry themselves with sleek dignity; this is not one of them.
Dan Lopez 2002-07-18