The Violent Heart had me reeled into it within five minutes, but all it took was a ridiculous final seven to turn me off entirely.
Writer-director Kerem Sanga creates a world with strong visuals and true-to-life characters, but I really with the helmer would have focused on the vision and let someone do a rewrite.
It’s a film where everyone is well-cast, but everything falls apart with a third-act twist that, frankly, felt cheap and tacked on. It ruined everything for me.
The story itself, about a young African-American man named Daniel who falls for white Cassie, is heart-wrenching. Daniel has come back from straying to the wrong path, and has dealt with tragedy due to his older sister’s murder 15 years prior.
He’s trying to get his life together when young Cassie, rebelling in her senior year of high school, seeks him out. She’s drawn to him, and hard as he tries, he can’t resist their spark.
The Violent Heart boasts beautiful performances, especially from Jovan Adepo, an Emmy nominee best known for television series The Watchmen, The Leftovers, and his role in Oscar nominated film Fences.
His counterpart, Grace Van Patten, may not have the same power in her role, but the highly capable Meyerowitz Stories and Sopranos actress gets her biggest showcase to date here.
Lukas Haas is a fantastic actor, but he’s constrained by a cliche role as the strict, schoolteacher father here. It pained me to see him put so much energy into a role I couldn’t care about.
The Violent Heart is a mediocre movie that could have been great with the guidance of a better screenwriter. I’m still excited for whatever Sanga has coming next, but I hope attention is given to the next script.