In Heartless Jim Sturgess Makes a Deal With the Devil
Heartless is multimedia artist Philip Ridleys third feature film, and his first since 1995; in the interim, hes been busy with plays and novels, many geared to young audiences. Though well into manhood, Heartlesss protagonist, Jamie (Jim Sturgess), is hung up on feelings of irreconcilable differences and alienation usually associated with adolescent confusion. Still living with his mum, Jamies held back from life by mortification at the merlot-colored birthmark covering the left side of his face. Its just as well, given what he sees on the graffiti-covered streets of East End dungeon London, infested by thugs whose hoodies concealcan this really be?fang-bristling salamander faces. In time, Jamie meets their master, an unsavory fellow named Papa B (Joseph Mawle), who offers the lad a dirty dealthat B very probably stands for Beelzebubtrading cosmetic favors for human sacrifice. With erratic success, Heartless tries a number of different veinsurban fairy tale with There was no magic, it was you all along twist, supernatural family dramabut its on firmest footing as a macabre comedy, with the too-brief appearances of Eddie Marsans pitbull-faced Cockney devil and Jamies first victim, a preening rockabilly hustler who negotiates for the price of a kebab and a Diet Coke before being handed over to Papa B.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.