The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things – DVD Review


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Palm Pictures presents The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Written by Asia Argento and Alessandro Magania. Based on stories by J.T. LeRoy. Running Time: 89 minutes. Rated R for intense depiction of child abuse/neglect, strong sex and drug content, pervasive language and some violence.

Director:

Asia Argento

Cast:

Asia Argento……….Sarah
Jimmy Bennett……….Young Jeremiah
Cole Sprouse……….Older Jeremiah
Dylan Sprouse……….Older Jeremiah
Peter Fonda……….Grandfather
Ornella Muti……….Grandmother
Winona Ryder……….Psychologist
Marilyn Manson……….Jackson
Michael Pitt……….Buddy

The Movie:

This is one messed up movie! It follows the life of young Jeremiah. First played brilliantly by Jimmy Bennett, then played equally brilliantly by twins Cole & Dylan Sprouse (you’d remember them as the kid from Big Daddy). Jeremiah is taken away from his loving foster parents when his white trash mother, Sarah, turns 23 and can legally do so.

Seven-year-old Jeremiah is taken on one tripped out hell ride. First his mother drugs him to keep him awake and keep her company. Later he is beaten and molested by her boyfriends before finally being abandoned by Sarah. CPS turns him over to his overly religious grandparents where things don’t get any easier. Three years later (when the Sprouse brothers take over the roll) Sarah returns to take her son once again. They head back out on the road where he gets to watch his mom whore herself out to truckers and dance in strip clubs. From here things continue on in a downward spiral into drugs, depravity and hopelessness.

One of the only pleasant moments mother and son share together is when she puts blush and lipstick on him and puts him in girl’s clothes, but the joy can’t last long. Thinking he looks just like his mom, Jeremiah goes over and hits on her boyfriend, played by Marilyn Manson, leading to more bad things.

This film has a very jarring style with almost all handheld shots adding to the unsettling nature of the story. This isn’t an easy film to watch and most certainly isn’t for everyone. You’ll find no happy ending here. Hell, there is very little in this film that is happy or uplifting. It’s pretty much a downer from beginning to end. However, it’s a very well acted film. It helps that some big name people play a bunch of small roles. Asia Argento is completely believable as the abusive Sarah. The story is also very well told and definitely a nice change from everything Hollywood’s been spewing out.

There was some controversy surrounding this film. J.T. LeRoy’s first two books were, when published, said to be the autobiographical story of a teenager. It came out after the film was made that J.T. LeRoy was a fictional person. It is believed that the author of the LeRoy books is a woman named Laura Albert, although she’s never admitted it.

True or not, this is a disturbing trip into the darkest corners of the human condition and should only be traveled by those ready and willing to take the trip.

STORY: 9/10
ACTING: 9/10
LOOK/FEEL: 9/10
ORIGINALITY: 9/10
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 9/10
TOTAL SCORE: 45/50
FINAL SCORE: 9.0


Sarah tells a reluctant Jeremiah how it’s going to be.

The DVD:

The Video:

This film is presented in widescreen and looks great. Asia’s unique vision is presented wonderfully.

Score:10/10

The Audio:

This film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and they actually do some interesting things using the 5.1.

Score:10/10

Extras:

Audio Commentary for by Asia Argento and producer Chris Hanley: This is a pretty good commentary. Asia talks about the troubles with working a small budget and also how great it was working with the kids. Asia is a good director and she has some interesting insight into the craft. She also talks about how hard it was to play such a terrible person.

“JT Under Cover” featurette: This starts out with Asia Argento and “J.T. LeRoy” doing a Q&A at Cannes Film Festival. The sound is really bad and you can hardly hear what’s being said. Later “LeRoy” goes on stage and whispers something into the mic and is hardly heard, so much so that they provide subtitles for his words. “LeRoy” also reads a segment of his novel and does a Q&A, always whispering, always hiding behind large black sunglasses and a large black hat.

New York Film Premiere and Party featurette: The focus of this Q&A is about the hoax of the books and whether or not it helped or hurt the film. Asia has some interesting thoughts about this.

Theatrical Trailer

Score:8/10

InsidePulse’s Ratings for The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

9
THE VIDEO

10
THE AUDIO

10
THE EXTRAS

8
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
9
(NOT AN AVERAGE)