Friday 27 May 2011

"Heartbeats" (Metro 27/05/11)

Heartbeats (15) 95 mins **

22-year-old French-Canadian Xavier Dolan has been gaining quite the reputation on the festival circuit, and on the evidence of this, his glossy second feature, he has a promising future ahead of him as a director of polysexual M&S commercials, should ever the film work dry up.

Heartbeats charts the impact of an outsider on a clique of twentysomething nitwits with over-thought haircuts. Curly-locked, full-lipped Nicolas (Niels Schneider) is something all right: Dolan shoots him in slow motion at every opportunity, lest we were to miss his sculpted cheekbones or sly smile at regular speed.

As Nicolas worms his way between gay Francis (Dolan himself) and the latter’s bolshy confidante Marie (Monia Chokri), the players are posed as prettily as possible in bars and bookshops and bedrooms; even the white rabbit this threesome encounter while larking through the woods one afternoon is as pristine as any one might pull from a magician’s hat.

Yet the love triangle proves a tease, and Dolan fills the remaining time paying self-conscious homage to old movie stars and hipster vinyl recordings. A few superficial pleasures here, granted, but otherwise there’s nothing very much going on between the film’s well-groomed quotation marks: like attending a party at which you just know everybody else’s Facebook photos will turn out better than your own, it’s an irksome experience, to say the least.

Heartbeats opens in selected cinemas from today.

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