Random Hearts (1999) starring Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles S. Dutton, Bonnie Hunt, Dennis Haysbert, Sydney Pollack, Richard Jenkins directed by Sydney Pollack Movie Review

Random Hearts (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Harrison Ford as Dutch Van Den Broeck in Random Hearts (1999)

Internal Affair of the Heart

"Random Hearts" proves the fact that talent alone doesn't make a movie because with Sydney Pollack behind the camera and Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas in front this is a movie which has talent. The trouble is that not only is "Random Hearts" far too long and drawn out but it seems unsure of what it is, we have this central story of two people finding out their partners were having an affair following their death in a plane crash and it throws up themes of grief and the need to know, to find answers. But then we get romance, political drama and a crime story as well and it makes it a jumble of stories which are part of the reason why it goes on far too long. It is as if those elements the subplots which should fill the background are given as much importance as the main story and it makes it wrong.

After a plane crashed on the way to Miami, Internal Affairs Officer Dutch Van Den Broeck (Harrison Ford - Air Force One) discovers that his wife was lying when she said she was going to Miami on business leading him to suspect she maybe having an affair. As he snoops around looking for answers, not only does it start to affect him professionally but also leads him to Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas - The Horse Whisperer), a woman with political ambitions whose husband was the one having an affair with Dutch's wife before they were both killed sneaking off together for a romantic weekend.

Kristin Scott Thomas as Kay Chandler in Random Hearts (1999)

One of the issues with "Random Hearts" is that it takes an absolute age to get to what should be the main storyline and instead of getting down to business it focuses on the subplots. So we get a slow build up to Kay Chandler and her political ambitions whilst we get the story of Internal Affairs Officer, Dutch Van Den Broeck, going after corrupt cops. The actual story of Dutch dealing with dirty cops is almost enough to sustain a whole movie on its own it gets that much attention. But it means that whilst Dutch & Kay's partner's affair is insinuated it never feels like that is the main story.

And these subplots keep taking up screen time when we do finally get to the main storyline which sees Dutch initially discover his wife was on a plane which crashed and then realising she was having an affair. Now this part of the movie is good because we have Dutch trying to find the truth, whether or not his wife was being unfaithful which leads him into contact with Kay. And there could have been a nice look at how Dutch deals with his grief and the need to have answers, why and how long the affair had been going on. But the trouble is that this central storyline evolves into a romance because Dutch and Kay start to have feelings for each other, which to be frank is a little corny. All of which just makes it messy because what "Random Hearts" ends up is a movie which 4 connecting stories all sharing equal screen time and for me it should have been just the one with Dutch coming to terms not only with the loss of his wife but also discovering she was cheating on him.

The irony of this is that whilst I didn't enjoy the way the storyline evolved into Dutch and Kay dealing with feelings for each other there is something quite charming to watching Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas act out this romance. There is believability to how they react to each other in those close moments and whilst it ends up a wasted opportunity to explore whether what they feel is either love from sorrow or a form of revenge there is something which makes you think that a pure romantic drama would be good with them in it.

It is not just those romantic scenes where Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas excel and to be honest it is because they deliver solid performances both together and individually that "Random Hearts" ends up watch able. Actually they are not alone as the supporting cast which includes Richard Jenkins, Bonnie Hunt and Charles S. Dutton also keep things interesting.

What this all boils down to is that "Random Hearts" is sadly not a good movie and barely average because it tries to do too much and by that I mean instead of giving us one story with subplots delivers the subplots with as much attention as the main storyline. It makes it long, drawn out and if it wasn't for some good acting from Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas it would have been below par.