From cult author JT LeRoy's best-selling novel The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, comes Asia Argento's bold cinematic adaptation of the controversial story of a mother and her son living hard and fast in the dark fringes of America. Written and directed by Asia Argento (Scarlet Diva, XXX, Land Of The Dead), and shot by Eric Alan Edwards (Kids, My Own Private Idaho), The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things boasts a stunning cast that includes Academy Award® nominee Peter Fonda, Jeremy Renner (North Country), Michael Pitt (Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Last Days), Marilyn Manson, John Robinson (Elephant, Lords Of Dogtown), Jimmy Bennett (Poseidon, Polar Express, Daddy Day Care) and Cole and Dylan Sprouse as Jeremiah.
After viewing this film I am left shocked, stunned, and utterly drained of all emotion. Similarly, movies like Requiem for a Dream, Happiness, or Party Monster come to mind, but those comparisons don’t even begin to scratch the surface. This film assaults your senses with intense imagery depicting child abuse, pedophilia, and drug use, amongst other mature subjects.
What is truly interesting about this film is that apparently it is based on a novel that was supposed to be a semi-biography that turned out to be a hoax. Author JT Leroy was just a pseudonym for a woman named Laura Albert. Not that any of this information should impact whether or not you enjoy or despise this film; it is just merely something to put out there for thought.
The Heart Is Deceitful is not the type of DVD you’d expect to include a feel-good behind the scenes featurette or a gag reel with outtakes from an abuse scene. However what extras are included do help make for a complete package and compliment the film nicely.
* Commentary - Feature length commentary featuring director and actor Asia Argento and producer Chris Hanley. They are both very open and conversational, and help shine some light on to this very controversial film.
* JT Undercover (30 minutes) - Following the elusive fictitious JT Leroy at Cannes Film Festival. Certain parts are interesting but others tend to drag on.
* New York Film Premier and Party (14 minutes) - Featuring Asia Argento and others doing press interviews, Q & A session and other premiere footage on the red carpet and at after parties. Worth a look.
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things certainly isn’t a feel-good movie, and if you're looking for a film to throw in and relax with for a couple hours, then you might want to pass. If you’re looking for a thought provoking film that delves into the wasteland of humanity’s best and worse, then you should check it out. Whether it’s anger, repulsion, or compassion, this film will definitely evoke some kind of emotion, which is more than what most movies manage to do nowadays.
- Chris Lawrence