Today: April 19, 2024
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Junkhearts

As far as debuts go, Junkhearts is a pretty impressive opening gambit for Tinge Krishnan as a director.

As far as debuts go, Junkhearts is a pretty impressive
opening gambit for Tinge Krishnan as a director.

Set in the menacing and secluded tower block flats and back alleys of
London, Junkhearts exposes the broken lives that inhabit these spaces. And when
some of these broken lives collide, the consequences are both enlightening and
catastrophic. Not without its flaws, Junkhearts exudes a style and confidence
of that of an experienced and well-established filmmaker.

When a troubled ex-soldier, Frank (Eddie
Marsan
), decides to help a homeless teenager, Lynette (Candese Reid), he quickly finds himself the victim of a scam that
threatens to take everything he has left. After attempting to atone for the
sins of his past, Frank’s charity towards Lynette initially allows him some
form of redemption. Although Frank’s past is not always clear, clues point
towards a happier time with a family and child. A horrific truth however from
his time as a soldier continues to traumatise Frank and reveals a haunting
reality that he is battling to overcome.

Gritty is a term that is all too often used to describe urban dramas
such as Junkhearts. But in all honesty, Junkhearts is at times a tough
endurance test of a film. This effect is only achieved however thanks to the
human element of the film. While some characters are both violent and
manipulative, others are kindhearted and vulnerable. By colliding both the
inhuman with the human, Krishnan has made an emotionally troubling film that
pulls you into the downward spiral of others.

In a separate and somewhat contrived storyline, a successful
businesswoman, Christine (Romola Garai),
struggles to hold together an affair with a married man, an apparent drug habit
and looking after her newborn child. For large periods this story goes missing
from the film and seems to be a rather clumsy tie-in that only serves as a way
of rounding off the film in a neat and tidy fashion.

Despite this error, the central story of Frank and Lynette is purposeful
enough that all is swiftly forgiven. Sparks also fly between actors Eddie
Marsan and Tom Sturridge, who plays
Lynette’s abusive boyfriend. Despite Marsan’s supreme acting skills, Sturridge
is in no ways intimidated or overshadowed. Rather, he exudes a cool menace that
threatens to explode at any moment and is another fine talent to watch out for.

As much a human drama as it is a social drama; Junkhearts is direct in
its approach of uncovering the grim underbelly of those who are victims of
abuse. From what is a startlingly accomplished debut from writer/director Tinge Krishnan, hopefully this is beginning
of great things to come.

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