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A murder/suicide pact between two high school students is laid out in the shocking feature film HEART OF AMERICA. On the last day of school, the duo load up on weapons, and arrive at the school to carry out their grim revenge against the students and administration that has made their lives hell. HEART OF AMERICA mirrors Gus Van Sant's ELEPHANT in subject matter, but carves out a stylistic niche of its own as the action plays out in real time.
Well, this movie can be bought on dvd and vhs everywhere here in the Netherlands since almost a year ago now. Kinda strange that it got released in the US only last month, and that it appears to be not that successfull, since this movie got only very few reviews. Anyway, if that is the case, I want to make clear that it is highly underrated, since it is a very good movie. Although you'll see the climax coming miles away, this movie still keeps you on the edge of your seat, and makes you wonder which one of the students who are bullied will snap in the end. The editing is very stylish, since it doesn't run in chronological order, but not confusing in anyway, I thought it was a nice touch. The soundtrack really adds to the emotions the "victims" feel; and by victims, I mean the students who are bullied all over through highschool and then finally snap. They went through hell, and a bully can't imagine what he is doing to a person. Don't get me wrong, I'm not approving of taking revenge on bullies by killing them, but to be honest, I can understand why they did it. If you're humiliated, bullied, abused, hit and kicked every single day, year in year out, you're bound to snap one day; a human being can only take this much. This movie really lets you understand the hell those students are going through, and why they one day pick up a gun, and don't care what they do, even if it cost their own life. Therefore this is a great movie, well-acted well directed and everyone should see this. I'm a teacher myself, and can't possibly understand how these things can happen and escalate. I mean, if a student gets picked on every day, it's hard to believe that the teachers don't know about it.Read more ›
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Uwe Boll is often considered to be the world's worst director, so going into this film, I expected it to be terrible, and I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't. "Heart of America" is about a Columbine High style high school shooting, with the majority of the film focusing on the motivations of the killers (no one actually gets shot until about 15 minutes before the credits). Although this is far from being a perfect film (it is of about the same quality as your average lunchtime movie and none of the characters are remotely likeable), the writer and director demonstrate a reasonable understanding of their subject matter and the film feels disturbingly real. It is also kind of interesting trying to figure out who is going to get killed when the shooting finally starts.
This might not be the greatest film ever made, but it is most certainly not the worst either ("Smoking Aces" was far worse, in my opinion). If you happen to be interested in the topic of high school shootings, then don't be put off by the fact that Boll directed this film. You might be pleasantly surprised too.
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My experience with minor brand DVD companies (such as Barnholtz Ent.) has been satisfactory, as I'm not interested in commentary, deleted scenes or other bonus features, that is, stuff these discs don't offer. Transfers are "best available source" and quality can vary from very good to only fair.
. HEART OF AMERICA is a Uwe Boll picture that's based on the Columbine High School shootings. Poorly conceived, poorly shot, poorly acted, poorly scripted, poorly edited, it's classic Boll. This German-born perennial "Razzie" winner perhaps can no longer pass his stink in Germany, so now he targets American subjects. Not a wise move.
On this last school day before summer recess, the murders to come have been previously set in motion when a group of athletes humiliate the wrong three kids. Before the actual assault however, we're distracted with the behavior of faculty (good or bad) and the personal lives of other students soon to be innocent victims, who were in the wrong place at the worst possible time.
B&W flashbacks, an attempt to create suspense by not immediately revealing who the final shooter will be and a narrated lltany of real-llfe school attacks, absolutely nothing seems to work here.
BTW, don't bother with ELEPHANT (2002), either. As with this botched effort, there's ultimately no lessons learned from it, no message beyond how truly random life is, and how easily it can end in sudden violence. Both are a total downer.
Finally, as to Uwe Boll, I'd rather watch a movie directed by Manute Boll. He surely could do no worse.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(4.1) Heart of America (Canada/Germany-2002) - Jürgen Prochnow/Michael Pare/Patrick Muldoon/Maria Conchita Alonso/Clint Howard
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I watched this film on the 10th anniversary of Columbine, after seeing the simply brilliant Zero Day and the mildly interesting Elephant. I was encouraged by the top Amazon review that this was an 'overlooked' film, but now that I've seen it, it was overlooked for good reason!
Basically, every cliche of 22 year olds playing high school students is exploited in this film, and as another reviewer pointed out, none of the characters are even slightly likable, which makes it hard to know who to root for or why.
The director's name, Uwe Boll, was vaguely familiar, and after watching the film, I re-learned that he's a 'tax shelter' director who many people consider the worst director of the modern era. By that standard, this was probably one of his better films, but it left me saying, "that's 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back."
If you think you'd like to see an "afterschool special"-quality movie made by a foreigner about what's wrong with a generic version of America, you might enjoy laughing at this movie. If not, I would recommend you watch any other movie on the subject but this one, and in particular, I recommend Zero Day as being as brilliant as this film is stale.