Blackheart (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


I just watched this movie and Faithless in the same day. Two entries from Canada. While Faithless is one of those film festival arthouse pieces that suffers from taking itself too seriously, Blackheart suffers from not taking itself seriously enough.

An example?

Although this is a cold-blooded film about heartless con artists and people murdering those they "love", the private eye on the case is played by Christopher Plummer, his name is Holmes, he has an English accent, he always seems to arrive on foot, and he wears a Deerstalker cap in every scene. I think he even showers with that cap on, although Plummer is getting a bit old for a shower scene. At his age, the water pressure alone could kill him.

We can be thankful that he doesn't carry around a magnifying glass, and isn't accompanied by a bloodhound with a matching cap, but it was already pretty surrealistic. Imagine the realistic criminals in "In Cold Blood" being pursued by Inspector Gadget, and you'll get the idea. 


Maria Conchita Alonso clearly shows her breasts from several angles, in a well-lit lovemaking scene

Fiona Loewi did a much less explicit scene, and the only nudity from her is a fleeting glance at her buns behind gauze.

Anyway, Richard Grieco and Maria Alonso play a couple of small-time grifters who stumble into the big time. In their usual low rent seduce-and-rob scheme, they stumble on a P.I. who is trying to find a minimum wage earner who unexpectedly inherited the massive wealth of a maidenly aunt. Since the legatee is a woman, the ideal scheme is to put the P.I. out of action, and for Grieco to seduce the girl before she can find out she's a zillionaire. It's a good scheme, because Grieco actually moves on her slowly, and pushes her away a few times, thus forcing the girl to seduce him, fall in love with him, and never suspect there is any scam. Of course, the P.I.'s partner, the aforementioned Mr Plummer, eventually arrives to say that she's an heiress, but by then she's hopelessly in love with a guy who "sincerely" loved her when she was poor. 

The scam itself wasn't bad, but there were some strange bits in the details.

For one, Plummer's character.

For another, resurrection. When they killed the first P.I., Grieco double-crossed Alonso, killed her, dumped both bodies in a car, and pushed it into the water. Some time later, Alonso simply showed up in a restaurant, having listened in on the conversation between Grieco and the mark. Not only does the film offer no explanation for that, but Grieco doesn't even say - "how did you get here?". He didn't even look surprised. "Oh, hi, dead chick. Have some eggs?". Talk about surrealism. Imagine if your dead granny walked into your room one night, brought you a glass of warm milk, re-entered the mortal plane and moved in with you, never offered any explanation, and you never asked her where she has been in the thirty years since she died. They actually expected us to accept that!

Later in the film, Alonso kills Grieco with a bullet to the chest. Five minutes later, he comes back to kill Alonso (a second time!) with a sword (long story). The police then barge through the door, see Grieco with the sword, and shoot him to death. Although Grieco is twenty feet away, and is armed only with a sword, the police inspector pumps about six bullets in the guy, thus assuring no additional resurrections. He kills Grieco (a second time). 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen 

  • no features

Therefore, this film is now tied with several versions of The New Testament (Jesus and Lazarus) and Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Cage and Bale) for the trophy for most resurrections in a single movie ...

 ... and is the runaway leader in the category of "most deaths, two people" (four).

Too silly. 

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.2
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Silly plot details and poor, emotionless acting by Grieco get in the way, but it is strangely watchable for a grade-b straight-to-vid. The surrealism lends a loony dynamic that makes it kind of fun.

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