John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek
Written and directed by Todd Robinson
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007
Lonely Hearts has all the ingredients of an excellent film noir mystery DVD. The mood is there, the acting and the characters are there, it is set in the late forties, and a lot of attention is paid to how the movie looks and it looks great. Lonely Hearts is, however, not as fascinating as it could have been because the many secondary stories overwhelm the main plot.
John Travolta and James Gandolfini (of The Sopranos fame) star as two detectives out to catch a couple of grifters (Jared Leto and Salma Hayek) who ensnare lonely, usually older, women (thus part of the reason for the title Lonely Hearts), get all their money, and kill them. Hayek is great as Martha, the very crazy half of the grafter duo and steals many scenes from Leto.
Detective Elmer C. Robinson (Travolta) has been pretty much desk bound since the suicide of his wife until he takes the lonely hearts case to heart after finding one of the couple's victims dead of an apparent suicide. His partner, Detective Charles Hildebrandt (Gandolfini), is there to back him up and create some conflict.
Lonely Hearts is based on a true story and a highly personal one for writer director Todd Robinson the grandson of Elmer Robinson. This is perhaps why there are too many secondary plots in this mystery DVD and why they get in the way. There is the conflict between Robinson and his son, Robinson and a colleague he is having a fling with (Laura Dern), and a third cop whose role is to be an asshole and tagalong. There is also the fact this film noir begins with a reveal of the ending. Now, we all know the bad guys get it in the end in American movies but do they really have to get it in the beginning too, even before the investigation has begun?
If you are a film noir fan, Lonely Hearts is a solid rental mystery DVD. If you are a fan of Travolta, Gandolfini, and especially Salma Hayek, it is probably a buy.