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'Lawless Heart'

Friday, April 04, 2003

By Barry Paris, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

In a rather lovely if rather prosaic Essex seaside town, three men are forced to re-examine their lives in the wake -- literally -- of a mutual friend's death. He was a charismatic sort of gay restaurateur, whose funeral is the starting (as well as focal) point of three intersecting stories that comprise "Lawless Heart."

 
 
'Lawless Heart'

RATING: Unrated but R in nature for sexual themes

STARRING: Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Douglas Henshall

DIRECTORS: Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger

WEB SITE: www.lawlessheart.html

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Nick (Tom Hollander) is the regretful, grieving lover; Dan (Bill Nighy), a happily married Hamlet; Tim (Douglas Henshall), the gregarious hypotenuse of the triangle. Lust and sexuality are issues, but not the primary ones.

"Boyfriends," co-directors Neil Hunter's and Tom Hunsinger's previous film, dealt with three homosexual relationships during one weekend. "Lawless Heart," on the other hand, is not a "gay film" but a sophisticated exploration of emotional indecision, wrong choices and the rationales behind them.

Structurally influenced by Eric Rohmer's "Rendezvous in Paris" (1996), its script was enhanced by improvisational input from the actors. Even the breaking of a sugar bowl is shown from three points of view with different relevance to each character.

Billed as "a comedy about love," it is romantically intriguing and extremely well acted. But its humor -- when put to the final test -- largely flunks.

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