Movie Review: Lonely Hearts

Directed by Todd Robinson, grandson of the main character of this true-story film, Lonely Hearts is an interesting story that explores the psychology of two lovers and notorious killers, and the detectives that seek to catch them.  Lonely Hearts takes place in the 1940s, where detective Elmer C. Robinson (John Travolta) is investigating a string of murders committed by lovers Martha Beck (Selma Hayek) and Raymond Fernandez (Jared Leto), known as the Lonely Hearts Killers.  Raymond crosses the country with Martha, who poses as his sister, luring lonely rich women into his arms.  The two then mercilessly kill the women and take their money.

This story has been made into film twice before.  What makes this incarnation unique is the fact that Robinson chooses to focus on his grandfather Elmer Robinson as the main character, rather than the killers themselves.  This allows for a deep and near-perfect psychological depiction of Detective Robinson, as he deals with not only his investigation of the cruel cold blooded murderers, but also his own family life, which is falling apart after the death of his wife. While the character of Robinson is perfectly written, I felt just the opposite about that of the killers.  Raymond is portrayed as a skinny, insecure individual, with a receding hairline and a strong dependence on his lover, and Martha is depicted as a beautiful seductress who is insanely jealous, and seethes with anger when seeing her lover with other women.  She goes to the point of almost destroying a setup, simply because she does not want to see Raymond pretending to be in love with the woman.  This flaw is completely inconsistent with all of Martha's other character traits because she is otherwise presented as a woman who is smoothly in control of every situation.  There is no reason why she should have been jealous of her weak and sissy lover.  I later read that the true life Martha was not in fact beautiful like Selma Hayek, but was instead, an ugly and overweight woman, who was insecure about losing her man.  I guess that situation doesn't play out as well on screen.
Overall, Lonely Hearts is a fairly good film.  Some parts are unnecessarily graphic, however the cinematography is wonderful, and the acting strong, with superb performances from the all-star cast. /Film Rating: 7 out of 10